NYBJS 6th Annual Battle of the Bands
The Bitter End
September 23, 2004 5:00P-8:00P

Pat Hunter Accepts Award It’s hard to believe that it has been almost six years since our society’s first entry, (The Dave Keyes Band) went to Memphis and won the International Bands Competition. But here we are in our fourth different venue for this year’s event at the legendary Bitter End in Greenwich Village. We are making the necessary preparations which hopefully will ensure a packed house so that the eventual winning band can have the appropriate funds to help defray the costs for travel (and three to four nights accommodations.) That’s when they battle it out on Beale Street against blues bands sent by other society’s from around the world! Have all the flysheet’s been ordered and distributed? Who is writing, emailing and calling the press to make sure that our event is listed in the all of the local periodicals like the Village Voice, and Time Out NY? Have the radio stations been contacted? How about email blasts to our six thousand plus database of music fans? Who is working the door, and working the crowd for contributions and members? Did the competing bands email their fan database about this event? The answer to all the above questions is YES, and our all volunteer network of blues fans have all contributed and once again delivered the word to the public, and now we ready to enjoy a fine evening of great blues by five great bands from the New York Metro area: Lil’ Bastad, Michael Packer, Dave Gross, Mike Torres, and Pat Hunter.

So here we are standing on Bleeker Street in front of the Bitter End, and the weather Gods are smiling on us. It is a beautiful day, it’s 4:30pm and there is already a line of people waiting to get in to the club. Special thanks to the DJ’s at WFDU: (Dennis Gruenling, EB Fisher, Mario Campanella, Rich Sibello, and Marc Copeland), and to Michael Bourne at WBGO who made announcements on the airways about the battle.

Its 5:00pm an on time ready to go is Lil’ Bastad, a band from Jersey who are road warriors of the area with excellent vocals and tight playing chops. Did they ever deliver a magnificent set!

Next it’s Michael Packer from Staten Island, whose band hosts a blues jam every Monday night right down the street at Kenny’s Castaways. Michael’s band also is on target, closing their set with a fantastic performance (with a guy you may know who made his name in the Village some forty years ago, and wrote) “All Along the Watchtower”.

A young man from North Jersey, nineteen year old Dave Gross lit the room with soaring guitar often reminiscent of guitar greats, Danny Gatton, Stevie Ray, and T-Bone Walker with his high energy yet tasteful set of sparkling material.

Westchester County/ Mount Vernon native Mike Torres was big crowd favorite who also performed a high-spirited set of scorching guitar, with tight arrangements from his very well rehearsed band M.T. Pockets. It should be noted that Mike can often be seen with his own band as well as the lead guitarist from our society music liaison Nikki Armstrong, who leads a weekly jam in Teaneck NJ at Mexicali Blues.

Fighting big traffic jams on Long Island, Pat Hunter’s band MISbHAVIN took the stage and dazzled the crowd with their soulful set with strong vocals from both Pat Hunter and her young keyboard player Danny Kean. All of their material was original, sans their finale of “Proud Mary” which left the crowd breathless.

The judges (Brooklyn’s Michael Hill, guitarist Larry Baeder, author’s Michael Lydon & Tom Kitts, and Ann Phillips) each entered their votes after each performance, and now for the tallying by our Society Vice President Janet Castiel. And the winner is…….by the slimmest of margins: Pat Hunter who out nodded Mike Torres, and will represent the NY Blues and Jazz Society for the IBC in Memphis, which will take place the first weekend in February.

Best wishes to Pat Hunter and her band MISbHAVIN, whose debut recording “Life Lessons” is receiving strong radio airplay, for more info check out Pat’s web site: www.misbhavin.com.

Last but not least, we are all looking forward to the send off party/ fundraiser, which will take place at another legendary NYC venue: Birdland in January. Signed on as music director for the second year in a row will be that Hudson River Rat Rob Paparozzi, who will secure many of NY’s best musicians to come out to play in support of Pat Hunter and her band MISbHAVIN, who will appropriately headline the event.

See you all in Memphis!

Bob Putignano, President www.NYBluesandJazz.org & www.BluesandJazzSounds.com