LIVE: Collette & the Mudcats @ Alive at Five in Riverfront Park, 6/9/11

Dennis Centofranchi and Collette Drennan
Dennis Centofranchi and Collette Drennan

Call me Lightning.

One of the best things about summer in the Nippertown area is the free concerts series, the chance to catch a local opener at the Alive at Five series, especially so. Collette & the Mudcats did the honors in support of the Marshall Tucker Band. The Northeast is no stranger to blues bands, but you can grow old in a bar doing the blues – that is, unless an injection of new blood is transfused into the venerable genre. I’m here to tell you Collette & the Mudcats are just that shot in the arm, brothers and sisters!

A Collette-less Mudcats kicked off the set with a Clapton number from veteran keyboardist Dennis Centofranchi and a real fine lead vocalist in his own right. But it was the arrival of frontwoman Collette Drennan to center mic that provided that rush of new blood and much needed glamour to the upstate blues scene like a cool summer breeze.

Sure, she can belt it out with best of them, and she does it while dancing, shakin’, smiling and having some fun with the blues in her Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots. The Mudcats take a decidedly rock stance with numbers like the Black Crowes “Jealous” that makes a fine showcase for the quicksilver guitar playing of Steve Pastore. The Joss Stone/Johnny Lang hybrid “When Love Comes to Town” served up as a duet between keyboardist Centofranchi and the lovely Collette.

Then it happens. Mid-set on “Some Kind of Wonderful,” Collette hits that higher level vocally, and what you catch is lightning-in-a-bottle. It is a thing of beauty to behold. The rain-stage crowd sensed it, as more and more concert-goers filled in the gap in front of the stage, and a connection was made.

This is why the relative new comer Collette and her Mudcats are landing big summer gigs like Alive at Five and an upcoming NYS Fair appearance, as well as packing ‘em in at clubs like the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy and Taste in Albany!

Review and photographs by Matt Mac Haffie

Go here for a review and photographs of headliners the Marshall Tucker Band

Tore Down  (Eric Clapton)
Jealous Again  (Black Crowes)
Devil You Know  (JJ Grey)
24 Hour Fool  (Debbie Davies)
Love Me Like a Man (Bonnie Raitt)
Givin It Up For Your Love (Delbert McClinton)
Some Kind of Wonderful (Joss Stone version)
Kitchen (Robert Johnson)
When Love Comes To Town (Joss Stone/Jonny Lang version)
Just Won’t Burn (Susan Tedeschi)
Show Me Your Tattoo (Cadillac Moon)
Wild Wild Woman (Shemekia Copeland)
Voodoo Woman (Susan Tedeschi)

Collette Drennan and Steve Pastore
Collette Drennan and Steve Pastore
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