Chef Chris & the Nairobi Trio
drank proudly. They were loud. They looked as if they'd been living on the planet for longer than nineteen years. Damn, it was refreshing.
The man in charge of the food was, as it turns out, the man we'd come to see play that Sunday night: Chef Chris. Known throughout the Detroit area and far beyond for his high-octane bluesmanship and his ace Nairobi Trio, Chef Chris is an actual foodie when he's not standing like a monument on the stage screaming the blues. The sound of his harmonica reminds me of the sound a wildebeest made when it was attacked by crocodiles in a nature show I saw once. In a good way.
The beer flowed, the place got packed, and the dance floor filled up. Chef Chris threw it down. And when it got up, he threw it down again. My favorite song is one of his own, "You're Going to Jail and Your Car Is Too." (Bix likes it, too.)
Chef's a big guy with a scary goatee and some really nice clothes: a showman in the truest sense. He formed this band in 2000 to explore the boundaries of blues, punk, and country. Three years ago they won the eighteenth annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Further accolades just keep coming, and it's no surprise: this band delivers great songwriting, adventuresome and unexpected takes on cover tunes, and the kind of unremitting intensity that makes people who have eaten too much chicken still want to dance like fools to Bo Diddley.