Live Review: Cold Blue Water at The Mint in Los Angeles, CA

Material: Cold Blue Water is a jam band that performs covers and original numbers like “Blue Rain,” which has a Grateful Dead feel. The lyrics for their “Catfish Blooz” are not necessarily conventional to the blues genre, “Just like the Catfish/Swimmin’ round the pond/ Ain’t got nobody/tell me I was wrong...Find the meaning of life/Go out and get some/Just do what’s right/Ain’t about the money/Or all the things that you buy/All about the love/Leading your life.”

Musicianship: Andy Bs starts the set with plenty of fuzz and trickle tones thanks to his custom Gibson Les Paul. He skillfully adjusts his sound for each song and exhibits some B.B. King-style vibrato technique. Unfortunately McKelley’s sax is a little lost in the mix, but bassist Carvahlo interplays with him adeptly. The two harmonize and provide room for each other’s solos while wrapping up numbers with tight finales.

The band’s original “Blue Rain” features a catchy riff that Swislow and Bs duel and blend into a killer crescendo. Another original epic, “Wall of Decline,” starts with a Bo Diddley beat from Dennis. The band also cover “Riders 
On The Storm,” and it is notable that Den
nis has worked with The Doors revival band Manzarek-Krieger and the Robby Krieger Band. Swislow does Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek proud, nailing the solo on his Hammond B-3 organ.

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Performance: Overall the vocals have a good amount of reverb and Bs doesn’t shy from the grit with an occasional bluesy growl. “Wall of Decline” is the only point where his vocals are a bit too low. The feedback issues on guitar are minor and, overall, Bs incorporates satisfying solos. He also gives kudos to the venue and introduces each band member as they segue between selections of Santana and Hendrix.

Dennis rides his cymbals through “Stratus”
by jazz drummer Billy Cobham as an opening fill. The band wraps the show with The Allman Brothers Band’s “Southbound,” where each bandmate gets a featured solo.

Summary: While Cold Blue Waters’ members participate in shows on a rotating basis, the incorporation of the saxophone made this particular performance unique. Although “Riders On The Storm” is a great replication, it would be cool to see McKelley take more of a solo to distinguish this cover so it strongly adheres to the overall style of the band.

The Players: Andy Bs, vocals, guitar; Brian Swislow, organ; Ty Dennis, drums; Steve Car- vahlo, bass; Keith McKelley, saxophone.

Photo by Bo Roberts

Venue: The Mint
City: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: [email protected]
Web: coldbluewater.net