You cannot judge book by the cover (Mike Sponza Blues Quartet) Ravne 2010

When it comes to blues, at least for me, there is very simple logic on gouard. Presence or an absence of Mojo. Either artist move the air and my inner guts or he doesn't. Call me cold hearted if needed, but it's blues we talking about. 

Last night the experience was as raw as it could get. It might took two or three songs to set the mood, mainly with audience, but then the pure energy just burst out. Mike Sponza blues quartet took little town of Ravne's cultural hall with storm and shook the ground to it's roots. No non-sense effects, useless guitar licks or pretentious showf of. Mesmerizing, lifelike; an emotional rocket. Just a man and his music.

Mike Sponza is Italian, but man would you be wrong judging him by his nationality. He gently lay down this to the audience with opening cover song; a Willie Dixon classic: "You cannot judge book by the cover" and as he proved along the night, man is all about the blues. 

Blues demands emotions and Mike's passion, mileage, hankering for the loved ones while on the road and joy for life you can felt in his playing.

O.K. You're never gonna fail on remarkable taste of Italian fine clothing of performers :), but label it and your opinion is a worthless penny and a senseless servant of the ears covered by the perception filter of your eyes.

Franc Kokal should be held as regional if not national treasure for his music enthusiasm and all the energy he puts into organizing such jazz/cultural musical events. He's a regular attendee to any jazz, blues or other vivid musical event around country and abroad and his passion for music and high-end gear is dangerously contagious. We need people like him to push music and audio gear to the people and all generations.

Seeing a mixed audience of youngsters, middle age pairs and senior music lovers made me even very positive about whole event. Everyone enjoyed the show.

Mike went through some classic and contemporary blues covers, with a few rock cover  intermezzos, as well as few of his own songs. The way Mr. Sponza capture the blues shows clearly where his heart is pinpointed on the map of music. As with other great performers, Mike body, movement and performance radiated one thing. The blues! 

If you'll have the chance to hear Mike Sponza blues band near you don't hesitate. Jump, crawl and run. He's a great musician and with deep respect to the blues heritage. And more importantly he means bushiness!

Photos and text:
Matej Isak
Mono & Stere high-end audio magazine
November 2010, All rights reserved