rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 07/12/2005
Duke Tumatoe packs Big Cities Lounge
by Lisa Palmeno

Even though the temperature dropped to manageable levels last weekend, it was hot in Big Cities Lounge on July 1. People flocked to the blues club to check out Duke Tomatoe, a guitarist whose posters show him carrying a sign that says "Pompous and Overated" and "Will Work For Food."

He worked it good for the audience Friday night, with his terse, syncopated guitar approach. The bandstand was surrounded by dedicated dancers, who showed their appreciation for the high-voltage act.


Tumatoe is quick and accurate, and a song never flats or falls short of expectations.  Keyboardist Mitchell Hill eased into some late '60s/early '70s psychedelia on "The Hunter," and Tumatoe threw out straight-forward guitar flash. The vocals on this hard rock, guitar-driven, heavy bass line one were great.


The next song was a modern jazzy keyboard-dominated piece, "It'd Be So Easy To Fall For You."


Tumatoe's overall sound has a lot to offer: The band has the 1950s rock thing down; they play wonderfully with the far-out sounds of the 1960s; they interpret modern jazz effectively; and they definitely resurrect the hard rock of the 1970s. At times, Tumatoe's voice is like a distant memory of Uriah Heep's other-worldly sound.


Just when they had covered four decades of sound, they went back to their roots with a slow, all blues song that lasted as long as blues songs do: Until everybody is satisfied.


By the time I skipped out, the band was getting funky. I headed for the door and stepped out onto E. State Street and breathed in the fresh air of the summer night. As I walked home, I thought about how glad I am to live near Big Cities Lounge.

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