Taj Mahal - SF<










Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band / The Waybacks

Scott Bradley's review of the Taj Mahal show at The Fillmore in SF on June 27th 2003.

The last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of June 2003 were blazing hot in San Francisco. Aware of the relativity of the term ‘hot’ to the rest of the country, I must categorically state that for San Francisco in June, it was ‘relatively’ HOT. Alas, the perfect time for some ISLAND MUSIC. Yes, I know Taj ain’t the island master, you may say just as San Francisco ain’t the heat master, however, it was very well fitting for a hot Friday night at The Fillmore.

To get things started, a local act, The Waybacks, took the stage. At first the crowd had not filled in well, and the conversation and bar activity was high. Within two songs, the crowd’s attention had shifted to the stage. The Waybacks brought an almost Southern style to the Bay Area with their 5-piece pile of bluegrass. By the end of their set the crowd was dancin and hollerin and wanting more.

On comes Taj. Oh the long lineage of fate’s roads that this man has travelled. Up on the stage, straw hat in place, Hawaiian shirt beaming, smile on his face, and the music began. It truly amazes me the mellow positive sound that this “blues” band creates. Supporting the new album, Hanapepe Dream, Taj & The Hula Blues Band draw the crowd closer, almost pulling the fresh cloud of smoke that accompanies the latter onto the stage. They mix in a few blues tunes, including the requisite traditional version of Stagger Lee. However, the main path for the band tonight is to continue to carry the style of their last two albums, melodically caressing the crowd into a mellow groove of head-bobbing, body-swaying pleasure through the nectar that is Island music. This sound is infectious and feelings of summer tropics pleasure never evade the mind throughout the show.

Alas, the night has come to and end, and as I leave dazed in dreams of Corona commercials and Summer Surfing Blockbusters, I walk out the doors of The Fillmore, into the, YOU GUESSED IT, no longer seething warmth of San Francisco. It is cold and windy again. Back to reality.

Sudden Death Publications (c) 2003