A hungry crowd of rock fans devoured a powerful night of blues infused rock from the Mike Leslie Band and supporting acts.

Hot off of touring with Candlebox, Mike Leslie is back in town and stoked to play a show for his hometown fans. He has put together a line-up of Detroit talent to get the crowd ready to rock.

The evening’s entertainment started in high gear with F. Patrick James. He sat on stage simply with a guitar and amplifier and drew the crowd in with his blues-drenched songs and soulful vocals.

Tonight is the first performance by The Wells, and they wasted no time in blowing the crowd away with rock drenched in emotion. The iconic blues based music is spitting nails and rocking the essence of the vibrant and gritty soul of Detroit. When you see this band on the bill, buy a ticket and prepare for the sonic beauty which follows.

Nina and the Buffalo Riders started their set and instantly pull the crowd toward the stage as they belt out new music. Without sounding dated, the music reflects the timeless art of songwriting and infects the ears with memorable hooks. Thier blues-tinted rock music beacons the listener with layered arrangements building on the mighty shoulders of such classic bands as Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Allman Brothers, and the Black Crowes.

Finally comes the time for the Mike Leslie Band. The guys take the stage and are in good form with a new lineup featuring Johnny “Wolf” Abel (bass), Bryan Reilly (drums), and Mike Leslie (guitar/vocals). While Leslie has been on the road and in the studio with Candlebox over the last year, his side project has not diminished the energy of the band as was evident on this night. The band members easily lock into groove after groove, their talent and friendship a palpable force on stage.

Mike mentions to the crowd of how the band has been “woodshedding in Bryan’s basement” as they crank out a new tune called “Punk Berry.” Mike Leslie is a phenomenal guitar player who makes his Stratocaster wail and sing as the dynamic duo of Reilly and Abel keep each song tight in the pocket.

The guys treat their fans to the first-ever performance of a new Candlebox song called “The Bridge,” which Leslie wrote. They followed by a tasty rendition of “Far Behind” with lighting up his well-worn Les Paul.

With calls for one more song, the Mike Leslie Band played a fantastic cover of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”. This song highlights the diversity and impressive chops of each member of the band. The closing track is a brilliant night cap to a remarkable evening of music at Small’s in Hamtramck.

Mike Leslie Band
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The Wells
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Nina and the Buffalo Riders
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F. Patrick James
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About The Author

Chuck is a native Michigander. He grew up in Detroit, and later Pinckney. He now calls Ann Arbor home. Running is in Chuck’s blood. He has run several marathons and numerous other races. His favorite race is Dances with Dirt in Hell, Michigan. Chuck was first exposed to photography in 7th grade. He has been a photographer ever since, honing his skills shooting landscapes and most recently concerts. In addition to experiencing music from behind the camera, Chuck is a musician in his own right. He has been playing guitar since his teen years. He played in Detroit area metal band, Battalion, recorded two independent releases, and toured. Today when not covering concerts, you can find him online at his blog, Life In Michigan.

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