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The Tommy Castro Band closed out the Scripps Birch Aquarium's Green Flash summer concert series with a scorching set. In the beautiful seaside setting, the six-piece outfit served up tunes such as the gritty "Gotta Serve Somebody" and rollicking "Make It Back to Memphis," which is off their new release, Hard Believer.

Buoyed by a boogie piano, a couple of punchy horn players, and a solid bottom, Castro unleashed his chops. Playing a Memphis-style blues, Keith Crossan's Sax and Tom Poole's trumpet parings blew a sweet sound reminiscent of Stax recordings of the ’60s. Scot Sutherland, the band's bassist, often played as if he were in a world of his own, surfacing when he realized he was on stage and then drifting back to the mad set of runs he played all night.

While known as an electric blues band, on occasion Castro’s outfit would venture into funk, exemplified by cuts such as "Nasty Habits" and a set-closing cover of James Brown’s "Sex Machine." Drummer Ronnie Smith answered all of Tommy's "git on up" calls throughout the song, as the closer served to highlight each band member with generous solos.

  • Concert: Tommy Castro
  • Date: September 15
  • Venue: Scripps Birch Aquarium
  • Seats: center-stage, about 60 feet away
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