The Saloon, San Francisco

May 26, 2004
By Maureen Hayes, Da Blues Traveler

Headed on down for some R.J. Mischo at the Saloon last night.  I was really lookin' forward to it.  Had never seen a whole show of his.  Just sittin' in here and there.  This guy is sooo cool!!  His stage presence, style, PLAYING, singing, everything about him reads "Cool"!

His stage presence is that of a kindred spirit that likes to have a ball and everyone on stage better be having one too!!  Gotta love that voice but his harp playin' is just the best.  Could have listened to that all night long.  I'm not gonna say we didn't get to hear his playin enough.  It said R.J. Mischo, and by golly, that's what we got too!  Loads of it and this was a good thang.

I loved the part when he kind of bounces the harp on his lips for those short little bits he adds in.  I can't explain it.  I know there's probably some terminology for it in the "Harp Bible" but I don't how to tell it.

The guy is a stage master and a real pro.  His hospitality is abundant.  It comes thru in his playin' and singin'.  I will be around to see him again and I will travel for it too!

I wasn't feeling too well on this night.  Should've stayed home but then what?  Sat for the first set but enjoyed it all the same.  It was kinda of fun just to watch the dynamics up on stage.  Some real fun dancers came up and that got me out there.

Two cute little girls were enjoyin? dancing with each other, and some pretty down and dirty dancin' at times, and this one gal kept saying to me, "Look out for the lesbos.  Those lesbos are getting a little friendly, don't ya think?"  "Look at that guitar player.  Isn't he cute?  He's cute, huh?"

I said yeah, but did you know he can play too?!

"Hey, look at that coming out of the bathroom!  Look at that nice tight butt!"

I'm just wanting to get back to my world.  Every time I did, she would chime in and snap me back to reality.  I had a hard time staying in my world.  I didn't get mad though.  Although, I almost had to say something when she brought over some guy for me to dance with.  I guess she thought I needed someone to dance with??!!  Some people!!

"Shake your ass honey.  He's a cute one too!"  She said.  She was a trip but harmless.  Only at The Saloon!!

As the night grew, I hugged the stage to try and shut out everything behind me.  Back to the band:  Kent Brison on drums.  Haven't seen him for awhile.  Got a steady gig with Kim O'Nalley at Pearl's every Tuesday night.  A few other things when called on.  Great to see and hear him again.

Kedar Roy on bass.  It was sooo cool to walk in and see him there.  He's a pretty amazing bassist.  Those two had their work cut out for them with R.J.  He's seems difficult to keep up with.  The guy is on the ball and always changin' up, it seems.

The guitarist of the night would be mainly Johnny Cat.  I walked in and he was there, (Yahoo!!) on stage, holdin' Chris "The Kid" Anderson's guitar.  Chris was in the house but would only play a couple of songs.  This was probably a good thing because it wasn't the Kid I know and love!!  I think a celebration was in full swing on this night.  Just got back from the road.  He was funny and I will be catching up to him, and his own show, soon.

"I'm not as drunk as I sound," he stated and that might have been so?.

Johnny Cat, Johnny Cat?this little guy can play!  It was great to hear him in this form.  This make up of musicians, I mean.  It was by no means, a guitar night but he got some in.  He threw out some sweet surprises every so often.

Last time I saw him, he was on stage with Juce Garcia and I left.  I walked.  The vibes on stage sucked.  He had none of that "Cat" spirit in him and the whole feel was awful.  I was excited to see him standing up there, too.  But what came out on that night was nuthin'.  Absolutely nuthin'!

So, I was happy to hear him in this form.  The stage vibes were awesome last night.  R.J. is a true gentleman and a real bluesman.  I can't believe I don't go and hear him more.

The highlight of the night?one of S.F.'s finest came in, in full uniform and stayed for a few and listened.  A blues fan in blue!!  The ?Kid? was really getting' into something we'll call a solo, and he looks up and sees the cop and does a double take then he blurts out, "Whatcha lookin' at?"  Everyone was laughin', including the cop.  He then brought it down and started into commending all SFPDs finest and offered them all much respect.  I don't think I've heard the kid talk so much.  It was sweet and the crowd agreed and some applause was in store for SF's finest.

What surprised me was when the cop requested "Little Walter!"  R.J. obliged and it was killer!!  He stuck around and was really getting' into it.  That was cool.

What hurt my feelings was when R.J. said, "The only people here that know who Little Walter is are probably on stage here and sittin' at the end of the bar" (referring to the players hangin' out in the house).  I was insulted and who the hell does he think goes to hear him play?  Blues Fans!!!  Now any blues fan should know Little Walter is, right??  Or am I just presumptuous?

The men in blue love the Blues!

Great, GREAT night of blues from R.J. Mischo and his Red Hot Blues Band.  This guy is a class act and I appreciate the fact that he still plays for us at these little intimate places like the Saloon.  My favorite hangout for The Blues, baby!!  Always a fun crowd, and the music?it oozes out of the wood.  It's in the wood.

It just "blows" me away at the vast amount of professional bluesicians we have right here in our little corner of the world!  Get on out and support them.  Especially the ones who strive to make a living at it.  The pros.  Support them and don't settle for less.....

...da Blues Traveler