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BAND DU JOUR BELTS THE BLUES BEAUTIFULLY

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One of the Intermountain area's best unsigned bands slapped out some clean-sounding, old-fashioned blues Wednesday night.

For those of you who missed it, shame, shame.Although the first set from Band du Jour, hailing from Boulder, Colo., was plagued with technical difficulties - heavy feedback, ungrounded microphones that shocked singer/guitarist Danny Schultz and a malfunctioning effects pedal - once the music started all the problems were forgotten.

After an hour's scramble to straighten out the problems, the band stepped on stage and pulled out sweet guitar melodies and funky, danceable beats. Drummer Brian Rochon, keyboardist/singer Bill McKay, bassist Dave Weisbart and guitarist/vocalist John Ohn-macht joined Schultz in a moving one-hour set that featured a balanced cascade of music.

A couple of people lost their inhibitions to the grooving bass line intro to "Your Sweet Lovin' " and the funky "Free Me, Baby" and wound up on the dance floor spinning and kicking to the beat.

Every song Band Du Jour played leaned heavily toward the blues. McKay's organ and electric piano shifted from a Hammond B-3-like vibrato to a plunky honky-tonky sound as Weisbart kept up with Rochon's heavily syncopated but catchy licks.

In keeping with the bluesy feel, Schultz pulled out a harmonica and highlighted McKay's soulful voice during one song. Ohn-macht even took the spotlight to bend a few leads during one of many freestyle interludes.

During each of those interludes the band's tightness and professionalism emerged. Sure it's difficult to play in a strange place and have something go wrong, but to the band's credit, it kept the energy up, and the show, though it consisted of a semi-spontaneous set, entertained the sparse crowd.

Every time Schultz stepped into a lead, his body jerked and spasmed with each passing note. He didn't just play the song, he felt it. The same went for the rest. Ohnmacht's rhythm kept the song intact as Weisbart bottomlined each arrangement.

McKay rocked back and forth as his fingers blurred when he typed out chords and riveting scales during his sporadic solos. Schultz's voice was a tad too smooth for the blues, but he held his ground and showed his soul. He also fussed too much with his equipment. During every song, he pushed, touched, tapped and toyed with his effects pedal, microphone and amplifier. He really needed to kick back and relax. And his fidgeting didn't help the sound at all. It stayed the same.

McKay's voice was featured again on a cool tune, "Fat Cat." The street-wise blues ended with a driving drum solo by Rochon. He punched out some certified jazz, fusion and rock tinted with calypso.

Band du Jour let the show run its course and finished high. The music's precision struck a chord with the listeners who cheered and showed heartfelt support.

This band sounds great live. It is definitely a must-see.