And what a monster lineup of bands and musical artists! I hadn’t been to Bimbo’s for years, and it was a blast to be back in one of the S.F.’s historic landmark live venues. The house staff was wonderfully professional and the sound was incredible. The show was full of high energy and inspiring performances.
The evening’s entertainment opened with Aleza D’Agostino, daughter of world-renowned Peppino D’Agostino, and it was heart-warming to hear this blossoming young artist. Another local up-and-coming talent on the bill was Blanca Sandoval with her wonderful band, offering songs both in English and Spanish–such a delight to hear.
Up next was Miles of Will, featuring two young gentlemen with very familiar pedigrees: guitarist Miles Schon (son of Neal Schon of Journey) and vocalist/keyboardist Will Champlin (son of Bill Champlin of Chicago and Sons of Champlin). At their first major Bay Area show, Miles of Will was a wonderful surprise of fresh concepts. With Miles layering tasteful, beautiful guitar melodies along side Will’s strong, warm vocals and keyboard work, this is most definitely a band to keep an eye on. Next came another fan favorite, The Family Stone, and what a fun, exciting group of talented musicians! Although the band is without Sly Stone himself, the band is on point and put on a fabulous show. It was good to see founding members Cynthia Robinson and Greg Errico mixed in with some new faces.
And onto the headliner group, Voices Of Latin Rock! And what an all-star lineup it was. At front and center was musical director Vernon "Ice" Black on guitar. In a word? WOW! Gary Brown was amazing on bass guitar and very FUNKY indeed. Holding down the drums was none other than Billy Johnson, so solid and consistent. On keys, it was the very talented Frank Martin. In the percussion section were the totally awesome duo of Karl Perazzo on timbales and Jesus Diaz on congas, and they were on FIRE! The horn section was another duo of outstanding musicians, with Mike Olmos on trumpet and Tom Pelitzer on saxophone, and they pushed it to new limits, for sure. Tony Lindsay provided lead vocals, singing like a bird with songs of praise. On backing vocals, we had dancing machine Aki Starr, and Sokai Smith held it down. A very special guest for the night was the ever so talented Carlos Reyes on his fiery violin, playing as if it was the last and only show left. Truly amazing!
And to finish off what would be yet another night for the Latin Rock history books, four special guests took the stage to join Voices of Latin Rock for the final number: timbale players Richard Segovia, Tony Flores, Gibby Ross, and Mio Flores. Along with the percussion section of Karl Perazzo and Jesus Diaz, they all played with a fury of fluid chops, pushing each other to go just one more trick further. As they all traded solos, playing with unlimited passion, the house was alive with cheers, flashes and video recorders everywhere you looked. It was a spectacular night of inspiring performances, one that I will surely never forget!
I should also note that on this wonderful occasion, I had the honor of interviewing some of the very talented artists: Aleza D’Agostino, Blanca Sandoval, Miles Schon, Will Champlin, Greg Errico, Carlos Reyes, Tony Lindsay, Vernon Black, and Karl Perazzo. These interviews will be available online soon at BAM TV, so keep an eye out for it.
In addition, here is the complete list of band members from every act. Thanks to all for putting on one heck of an incredible show!
Peppino D’Agostino Aleza D’Agostino
Blanca Sandoval Humberto Sandoval Mikey Juarez Robert Zamora Oscar Tablada
Miles of Will
Miles Schon (guitar) Will Champlin (vocals, keyboards) Ben Burleigh (bass) Allen Hertz (drums) Shannon Lacy (percussion) Alisha Gomez (bk vocals)
Family Stone Band
Gregg Errico Joel Brandis Blaise Sison Jerry Martini Cynthia Robinson Nate Wingfield Alex Davis Trina Johnson
Voices of Latin Rock Band
Vernon Black Karl Perazzo Jesus Diaz Billy Johnson Tony Lindsay Aki Starr Gary Brown Frank Martin Tom Politzer Marty Wehner Mike Olmos Carlos Reyes
Staff & Production Crew List:
LRI: Sam Totah Bob Sandoval Twinkie Flores Don Reid
VOLR 8 Producers: Jeff Trager Ron Sansoe Bob Sansoe Rita Gentry Gina Rossi Isabel Diaz
VOLR 8 crew: Dennis Broughton Arturo Carrillo Julio Suncin Jim Gonzalez Mike McCrory Rocky Barbanica Shelly Barbanica
Ushers: Victor Nolasco Sammy Totah Sarah
Stay true to your self and in sharing your sincerity to supporting the venue. We should all remember to never forget, that without the venue, we have no venue to share our true passion…our music!
So stay tuned, as there will be more to come. Peace.