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Good concert despite sound issues

February 25, 2011 - Diane Speer
After a full day at the office on Wednesday, I wasn't really planning to attend the Besser Museum's "Beat Away the Winter Blues Concert," but after some last-minute, good-natured coercian on the part of museum staff, that's exactly where my husband I found ourselves - and boy are we glad we went.

The two-hour event started out with the opening act, local band Kopy Katz. We've gotten to see this group on numerous other occasions and they always entertain, Wednesday night being no exception. That Wayne Kendziorski is quite the musician, whether he's playing guitar, saxophone or harmonica. He's a little loopy sometimes up on the stage, but that usually just adds to his appeal. The rest of Kendziorski's bandmates are also talented in their own right, including Larry Daoust and Gary Hollingsworth, both on guitar.

Kopy Katz warmed things up for the star attraction of the evening, Big Daddy Fox. A seasoned musician with a knack for showmanship, Big Daddy gave it his all and showed why he is an enduring and award-winning musician. His take on the blues was superb. A friendly sort, at one point in the evening, he invited the guys from Kopy Katz back up on stage to do some jamming with him, another equally enjoyable experience.

Along with all the praise of this concert, however, here comes a bit of criticism, too. Alpena High School, the venue for the event, needs to seriously consider either allowing professionals to run the sound equipment or at least updating some of what they've got. It was an embarrassing 10-minute delay when Kopy Katz first took the stage before the band could actually begin playing. They had to first get a couple of the mikes to work, which involved people running from the back of the auditorium up onto the stage to assist. Unfortunately, the initial fix didn't last and various sound issues kept cropping up throughout the rest of evening. Big Daddy, in particular, was hard to distinguish what he was saying due to the garbled nature of his mike. And the sound of Kendziorski's hot harmonica didn't come through as it should have either during the jam session.

The concert was planned as a benefit for the Besser Museum, and I'm sure many folks in the audience were able to overlook the annoyances with the sound in lieu of the bigger picture - it really was about raising funds for the museum. Still....I'm just saying....a revamping of how the AHS sound system operates would be a very good thing.


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