Blues: More than Sass
In Remus that typically draws 13,000 audience members, according to event staff. “It’s a folk festival, and they usually have several different little stages and workshops,” Adegbalola said.Tickets for the three-day festival cost $67. For information call (989) 967-8879.
Saffire formed in 1979 when Adegbalola begged Fredericksburg, Va.-based musician Rabson for guitar lessons. Five years later, Adegbalola played a solo gig at an area hotel and asked Rabson to join her on piano. Te blues duo added a bassist, and in 1990 Gaye won a WC Hand Award for song of the year for her composition, Middle Age Blues Boogie from Saffire’s self-titled debut.
For years, the trio toured relentlessly. “At first we did 15 to 20 shows a month,” Adegbalola said. “We were travelling in a van with hundreds of thousands of miles on it. It’s kind of unfortunate, because if we could work that hard these days, we would all be wealthy women. But when we were first on the road I was 44. It was truly a delight to adjust the heat in that van for three middle- aged ladies.”
By the mid-1990s, the band was still performing 70 to 80 shows a year. But in 1992, the band decided to cut its touring schedule to half of that. These days, “It takes an anchor show to get us out there,” Adegbalola said. “I definitely remember Holland because the sidewalks are heated. That really stood out in my mind. But Michigan has really been good to us.”
One piece missing from the band’s previous Holland experience: tulips. “We didn’t have time last time to get to the outlet,” Adegbalola said. “Everybody should bring us some bulbs. All three of us love gardening. If anybody has a spare bulb or two laying around, we would sure appreciate it.”
Harrison hopes the performance will pad LEDA’s coffers a bit. “They were so committed to our mission and the work that we do that they reduced their fee substantially to come in and do this as a fundraiser,” Harrison said. “People can feel great about two things-hearing great blues music and supporting a great mission. What a great way to raise money for a great cause.
WHAT: Saffire-Uppity Blues Women
WHERE: Knickerbocker Theatre
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5
TICKETS: $20, plus $10 for meet-the –band session after the show
INFO: (616) 846-9736