12th Annual Blues by the Sea Review
The azaleas were blooming large on the Green at Freshfields Village for the 12th Annual Blues by the Sea event held on Sunday. Although temperatures had dropped to a chilly upper 50s to lower 60s, hundreds of people showed up with chairs, coolers, and lots of blankets to enjoy an afternoon of high energy music from bands visiting from around the United States. The Wine Bar was on the patio serving beer and wine from their newly renovated store. As the day progressed, people began dancing. Children spun around with glee as adoring parents looked on, and lovers moved rhythmically to the delight of all.
The first band, led by Randy McAllister, is no stranger to the area. He and his band have played at Freshfields many times, and most of the band is from South Carolina. McAllisters hardcore jams with a stellar cast of talented musicians were the favorite of the day. As his set moved on, he literally wandered through the crowds singing, as the band quietly toned down as back up, in his bare feet. His deeply soulful chorus touched everyone as he passed by. It was an ethereal experience, and not one we usually see at Freshfields. Once he reached back to the stage, the crowd went wild as the band ramped back up and played a few more songs to round out the set.
The next band featured Mac Arnold, a rhythm and blues classic musician who has been around for decades. He was joined by A Plate Full of Blues for a soulful collection of catchy riffs and relatable songs that captured everyones attention. Macs voice commanded our attention, and people responded immensely with dance, clapping to the beats, and laughing as he cracked jokes onstage.
Mississippi Heat rounded out the day with a raucous set of blues that warmed our hearts. By this time, it was quite cold, and many people started heading out for dinner. However, the fans that stayed for the final set received what was definitely saved as the best for last.
Gary Erwin, a local musician and talent buyer, has been instrumental in creating this successful round of music at this location and can be found playing with his band, Shrimp City Slim, all around Charleston. If you are interested in listening to more blues, check out their performances at the Mills House every Sunday from 11-2pm and on Wednesdays from 5-8pm. One can never get enough of the blues!