Bumbershoot Review: Pete Molinari Could Be the Willie Wonka of British Blues

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P. Kelly for Pete Molinari
Who: Pete Molinari

Where: Northwest Court Stage

When: 6:45 p.m.

Pete Molinari plays American blues with a British accent--quite literally. In spite of his jukebox sound, his all-too-aware Presley-esque "Thank you very much," and his confessed (if not already obvious) affinity for Hank Williams and Billie Holiday, Molinari's records are only available to us Yanks as imports.

His dry humor and his Beatles jokes are well aware of that, though, and as a performer he's not your typical, heartbreakingly nostalgic blues homage either. This was the daintiest, quirkiest blues set I've ever seen. Pete Molinari doesn't even try to pretend he's a rock 'n' roll star. He comes out in striped pants and a purple blazer, commenting on his drummer's "mighty fine hairdo," a crowd member's "mighty fine shirt," and someone else's "mighty fine mustache." Between songs, he announces that he's sipping "a little drink of tea. Very rock and roll," and it all seems to resemble Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka had he nursed a different hobby.

Though it all seems contradictory, Molinari doesn't stray from the sound he knows best, which is what matters after all. Molinari and his band could be plucked right from a great American era, rife with rumbling cowboy chords, twist-friendly clap beats, and that casual boyish vocal that bounced off your ma's locker once upon a time.

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