Monday, March 18, 2013

When a Utah reggae band meets a Jamaican legend

Bludgeon Muffin was in the spotlight here three weeks ago after the Salt Lake City area reggae band played a post Mardi Gras party, and they rocked the place.  Last Thursday night (March 14), Bludgeon Muffin turned out to be the opening act for a Salt Lake City appearance at Liquid Joe's by Frankie Paul, one of Jamaica's best-loved dancehall reggae artists.

Jamaican reggae star Frankie Paul (All photos and videos by John G. Miller)
It turned into an evening to remember.

Having a couple of energetic connections with Bludgeon Muffin turned into a discussion about whether I'd be able to shoot photos and record video of the Frankie Paul show, and once that subject got the green light from Frankie's people, it turned into an opportunity for a post-show interview.

It turned into a golden opportunity, one that I wasn't about to waste.  And why not invite my friends along for the ride?  My friend Daniel Arellano -- Bludgeon Muffin's lead guitar player -- set the table for it all.  Before taking the stage himself to warm up the crowd with his bandmates for Frankie Paul, Daniel asked if I was stoked to be interviewing the Jamaican star, known as "The Jamaican Stevie Wonder."

Truth was, I wasn't exactly prepared for an interview with the prolific Frankie Paul.  That opportunity was a pleasant surprise.  But, yeah, I answered, I was very pleased.  But I wanted it to go a bit deeper than that.  I asked Daniel if he and anyone else from Bludgeon Muffin might like to take part in the interview themselves.

"Absolutely!" Daniel answered with a big smile.

Bludgeon Muffin took the stage and proceeded to turn in a killer set.  There may have been a touch of nerves coming from the stage a time or two, but it was plain to see that the band was pumped to be opening for Frankie, and the crowd responded in kind.

Then, it was Frankie's turn.  He and his band put on a rockin' show.

Frankie Paul

Frankie Paul gets 'em dancin' at Liquid Joe's in Salt Lake City March 14.

 Frankie's all about the music, and his vocal riffing was effortless.  Time after time he'd ease from a reggae tune into a classic tune from all over the place -- showing his "Stevie Wonder-like" chops with "My Cherie Amour," Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are," "The Way We Were," "Somewhere Over The Rainbow,"  the theme from "The Flintstones," "It's Not Unusual," "Just Once" -- and come back to the original without missing a beat.

If you were paying attention, you'd hear an amazing setlist, and it was all delivered with a fun sense of passion from Frankie and everyone on stage with him.

The crowd ate it all up, from the first jam to the last.

When it was all over, it was time to gather up the members of Bludgeon Muffin so they could meet a reggae hero.

Daniel Arellano (left) and Nicolas Snarr of Bludgeon Muffin show off their autographed guitar and ukulele.

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