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Kingfish Gives His All To Packed House

Kingfish Gives His All To Packed House

By Melissa Durse

Christone Kingfish Ingram and Mathias Lattin at TempleLive in Cleveland, 6.20.24: Here & Now…and Later!

On Thursday, June 20, I had the good fortune to see Christone Kingfish Ingram with opening act Mathias Lattin in Cleveland at TempleLive, along with a packed house of fans. Some were from Mississippi, a couple were from Milwaukee, others were local/regional, young and old, and all thrilled to witness these bearers of the blues torch right there in that very cool room nestled in the 103-year-old historic landmark Masonic Temple.

Mathias Lattin was the 2023 International Blues Challenge 1st place band and best guitarist winner, so this Houstonian’s reputation preceded him. I wasn’t at all in doubt but seeing him live confirmed exactly how he managed to do that at age 20. Now 21, Mathias and the other members of his power trio (‘power’ being the operative word), Jesse Gomez on bass and Nick Andres on drums, ran the great guitar-driven blues rock gamut from pin-drop quiet solos to, as Mathias said, “hardwood floor foot-stompin’ blues,” and various points in between. A couple of said points included a rousing rendition of “Little Wing” and the “Party” that he closed his set with.

A quick 15 minutes later, the room darkened again, Paul Rogers and Chris Black (bassist and drummer, respectively) took the stage, the ominous yet funky Kingfish intro music played, and out stepped Christone Kingfish Ingram with his beautiful tiger maple Chertoff custom guitar, both just radiating light and some very joyful noise! He started off with some snappy, sultry “Mississippi Heat,” then cooled it down a little for the succinct “Fresh Out,” which showcased his vocals beautifully. Third was “Another Life Goes By,” a sad social commentary that’s belied by the beautiful balladry around the lyrics, then onto “Empty Promises” that was chock-full of some smooth modern blues. Next up was the grittier “Not Gonna Lie,” during which Christone exited the stage one minute and emerged in the middle of the crowd the next! He played right there in the thick of things but in the zone, we respectful fans making little pockets of space for him to play to us at close range as we looked on in awe (note to Kingfish: you definitely did not break your promise to Buddy Guy!). “Mississippi Night” was heard by the hearts of the entire crowd; we were all in the zone by then, heads down and back, some eyes closed, everyone swaying to the blues beat. Some “Hard Times” were next but Christone made it look easy, as he wove a thread or two of carnival music into his blistering solo.

He then traded the Chertoff for his purple Fender Tele Deluxe and gave a heartfelt introduction to “Rock & Roll,” the song he wrote for his late mother, whom he lost five years ago. The melody and lyrics are a beautiful tribute, of which she would be proud. Someone must have started cutting onions, at that point in the show, and I don’t think I was the only one who noticed. After that, there was a return to some downhome rockin’ blues with “Outside of This Town,” which had everyone moving and to which Christone added a little bit o’ Smokestack Lightning during the solo. He ended the set with the ode to his area code, “662,” bringing Cleveland home to Mississippi, at least for a few minutes.

After a few moments of some floor-shakin’ stomps and shouts, Eric Roberts came back out to sit down at his keyboard to make it talk to us and to our surprise, a little bit of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” came up in conversation. Kingfish came back out for “Long Distance Woman,” but he wasn’t alone; no long-distance women showed up, but Mathias Lattin was right there on stage with his PRS DGT, he and Christone standing back-to-back trading riffs and licks before finishing the song and closing the show. What a show it was, too! If you weren’t there, I wish you were, and I also hope you get to Christone Kingfish Ingram and Mathias Lattin live sometime soon. These two young men are the wings from the roots of the blues, proudly bringing it to the here and now and, I have no doubt, later, as their sound continues to soar.

Melissa Durse

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