The weekend of April 15th brought a show slated to be a revival of some classic rock favorites, featuring ‘The Marshall Tucker Band’ and ‘Blackfoot’ as the dual headliners. A local band from Cape Coral, ‘Wildfire’ was included as an opener and crowd warmer.
Now, anyone born prior to 1969 is familiar with the names ‘Marshall Tucker’ and ‘Blackfoot’, as both were strong southern rock forces to be reckoned with back in their day…and this fan can attest to the fact that after seeing this show they still pack that power in a live performance.
Both original line-ups for these bands were formed in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s and have continued to make music and tour ever since; however…there was something very different about the band ‘Blackfoot’ on this particular tour.
As many bands experience, ‘Blackfoot’ has seen numerous changes within the roster of members within their line-ups, but what I witnessed upon sound check was a complete make over to an older southern rock favorite. This new roster has none of the founding members playing with them (on stage anyway), but they are working closely with Rickey Medlocke in the studio and have received his blessing to use the ‘Blackfoot’ name and go out to represent this classic favorite in a new, hard rocking fashion dashed onto the notable favorite singles such as ‘Train, Train’. [*video sample from Ballyorney show]
Just like making a sequel to a great original movie, moves like these are highly risky and seldom work out. This one though feels like it is just taking off on a long and successful run, as the new, younger and more modern musicians that have now come to represent ‘Blackfoot’ have the drive, talent and discipline to record and tour upon their solid grasp of what they do musically for years to come. It is highly recommended that any rock or southern rock fan catch this ‘train’ if it pulls into your town…it will truly blow you away.
Each member of ‘Blackfoot’ packs their own style and punch that keeps you captivated–however, the main treat is Christopher Williams on the Pearl kit. He simply drives the beat of this show and it is obvious that music runs through this youngin’s veins.
Equally talented and crowd grabbing is lead singer Philip Shouse, with his slinging leads on guitar while representing on lead vocals as well. The hair tossing got me immediately and the show just rocked from there.
The opening act, ‘Wildfire’ is a local favorite out of the Cape Coral area and they too did a great job of warming up the SW Florida crowd in the opening slot. They are a six member-four lead vocalist Blues and Dance Funk ensemble that can switch gears and deliver a diversified song list to grab the crowd’s full attention. ‘Wildfire’ plays both original tunes as well as covers–and places their own touch upon the classics, such as James Brown’s or Motown’s library rather well.
‘Wildfire’ is a crowd favorite in local and regional markets, blending chart topping hits with original music. They can successfully switch gears from Blues and deliver blistering Classic Rock tunes. Wildfire has been a staple upon the Southwest Florida music scene for fifteen years.
‘The Marshall Tucker Band’ could not have asked for a better opening line-up to have the crowd simply wanting more show when they took the stage. I recall not seeing any fan leave their seat longer than to get a beer inbetween ‘Blackfoot’ and ‘Marshall Tucker’ taking the stage. You simply did not want to miss one second of this entire show.
The line-up for the Marshall Tucker Band does include original vocalist Doug Gray and hearing them live, if you close your eyes, his vocals still pack the same smooth and solid stylings they did in the 70’s. This six member band is a treat to see play together as it just rolls naturally and all are well seasoned within their craft. Bassist Pat Ellwood and guitarist Rick Willis are the two ‘quieter’ stage presences of this band; however, their mastering of their craft says all that needs to be said about them both. Guitarist Stuart Swanlund steps up for lead vocals on a few tracks and does a fine job.
This show was a fabulous experience for this fan in that it brought back a large part of my youth, being the last of five and twenty years between myself and the eldest sibling in our clan, I grew up with two musicians in my home and plenty of southern rock from ‘Blackfoot’, ‘Marshall Tucker’, and of course, ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’, in my world.
The addition of ‘Wildfire’ and the Blues and Motown Funk was the icing on the cake to a walk back into days of great music filling my home.
Many within this crowd though I do not think were expecting what hit them when the newer version of ‘Blackfoot’ hit this stage…I can say though that they were pleased with what they got. Not one person was in their seat as I walked out to the main monitor boards to shoot full stage shots and to capture the crowd enjoying this fine line-up.
This show was great from sound check, to final song from ‘Marshall Tucker’ and SW Florida has Ballyorney’s to thank greatly for bringing a show of this calibur back to Fort Myers. Anthony is the best host and emcee you could ask for and I look forward to working with him and Ballyorney’s in the coming future on more shows like this one. Fort Myers has not been the scene for national acts like it had been in year’s past, with mainly all prior venues that featured acts like these are now closed. Here’s to hoping that Ballyorney’s will grab that torche and run with it, as SW Florida fans will definitely attend.
Ballyorney is Southwest Florida’s most authentic Irish pub, located just south of Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, Florida. It is housed in a massive stone faced ‘castle like’ building that cannot be missed from Cleaveland Avenue from any direction–all it needs is the ‘green fields’ surrounding it, and you’d think you were in Ireland.
They feature a great authentic Irish menu and Irish twists on other faves like their Irish spring rolls which are similar to Corn Beef and Cabbage wrapped in an spring roll casing…these are perfection!
Thanks to Ballyorney’s and their staff, all bands and crews, Brent’s Music for monitors and sound–his entire crew and Arrow 94.5 for bringing this amazing show to life! Local rock fans can only hope that this successful event will only bring more of the like. Bringing ‘Blackfoot’ back would indeed be the ticket! Well done on all fronts and here’s to hoping this was only the start of great things to come for the music scene of SW Florida.
It truly is the place to be with their ‘Hooley Hour’ daily specials and $5 menu items, live music which runs from local faves to Irish music acts. If you want more rock shows like this one that just rolled through town, let Ballyorney know! Tell Anthony I said hello!
ADDRESS: 13851 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, FL, 39912
CONTACT:  628-1444
Ballyorney Events: http://ballyorney.com/event/mondays-fridays-hooley-hour-specials/2012-04-26
Private Parties at Ballyorney:
Ballyorney Menu: http://ballyorney.com/menus
Blackfoot feature: http://nextooze.com/article/have-you-seen-the-blackfoot-these-days
Separate blog feature: http://kelections.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/blackfoot-2012-ballyorneys-not-your-grandmas-blackfoot/