At first glance, one might wonder how a cozy, chic looking place like Public Eat + Drink might be suitable for a loud, emotional display of the blues brought by local band Misty Blues and MCLA’s Jazz Band. Those involved seemed not to worry about it, and it is a good thing too, because from 9 p.m. until closing time, Public was packed to the walls with people simply having a good time.
If the emotions displayed by the performers had any effect on the audience, then it’s no wonder the audience was energetic and happy; all of the members of Misty Blues looked like they were not only enjoying themselves, but also excited to be there. They even interacted with the audience in between songs. Singer Gina Coleman rarely had anything but a smile on her face.
However, they were not the only ones who were happy to be playing in front of everyone. Chantel Baptista, a junior at the College, opened the night up with two songs that found her beaming at the audience with pride. She began with an a cappella cover of Adelle’s “Chasing Pavements” before moving to the piano to cover Amy Winehouse’s “I’m No Good.”
Following Baptista was MCLA’s Jazz Band delivering the bluesier side of jazz. Tiniqua Patrick stood center stage, lending her powerful voice to their two-song set, including a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”. Each student took turns soloing throughout the two songs and showed a fluid knowledge of the music despite only getting together for four rehearsals prior to their performance, according to the band.
Misty Blues took the stage after the Jazz Band and filled the cozy restaurant with signature blues riffs, heavy-hitting drum fills, and Coleman’s rough, yet soulful, voice. It did not take long for the small dance floor to fill with energetic dancers; the restaurant was at standing-room only the entire night, and most of them could have been found around the bar or on the dance floor.
While the audience had no problem standing around, there definitely was a difference in audience enthusiasm depending on whether one could only hear the band, or if they could both see and hear them. The band was dancing and moving around almost as much as the audience and possessed so much enthusiasm for what they did that is was nearly impossible to watch them and not want to dance yourself.
Their set consisted mostly of cover songs, including “Key to the Highway” and “Walkin’ the Dog”. They also did a song off their Gospel album, “Roadhouse Revival”. A lot of their covers progressed to blues shuffles as well, giving those dancing a chance to switch it up mid-song.
If there was any doubt in the beginning whether Public could house such a powerful blues band, it was quickly dismissed. The bands were at a perfect volume for the blues – just loud enough that you can feel the emotions but not loud enough that you literally feel the pain – and the tight-packed space was a breeding ground for dancing and enjoyment. As the night went on, the colored lights shone though the front window and the faint sound of blues carried down Holden Street, calling more and more people into Public to experience the blues power of Misty Blues.