This article appeared in the November 2015 issue of the Washington Blues Society’s Bluesletter:
Portland’s Rose City Kings last performed at Highway 99 Blues Club in August. Ed Maloney, the proprietor, and Dan Berkery, the band leader, opened the night by trading stories about the early days of Highway 99’s relationship with Rose City Kings. They reminisced about the time when the band’s hotel rooms were given away to other guests during a big convention weekend. With no place to sleep, Ed graciously offered to put the band up for the night at the club. The party never stopped that night and memories to last a lifetime were created.
At the August show, the band started the night performing new songs that the band debuted this Summer at Portland’s Safeway Waterfront Bluesfest. Fans also heard their favorites, such as Cool Baby and Biscuits ‘n Gravy. As a way of thanking Ed for all of his support, Dan encouraged the audience to “buckle up, tonight we’re going to play every song we know.” This led to an epic night of music going deep into Rose City Kings’ catalog of original songs along with covers of some classic blues, country and rock.
One of the highlights of the second set – which clocked in at two and a half hours – was Rose City Kings covering “Let’s Go Get Stoned”. The classic popularized by Ray Charles. Dan explained to the audience that the song originally referenced gathering friends together to drink alcohol. As times have changed, the lyrics now have a new connotation particularly with new legislation in Washington and Oregon. About half-way through the song, Ed surprised the band by throwing large bags of a green leaf-like substance on the stage to each of the band members. You can catch a video on Facebook.com/TheRoseCityKings. Dan chuckles as he clarifies that the leafy substance was in fact oregano, “It’s always a good time when we perform at Highway 99. We’re looking forward to keeping the fun going all night at the November show.”
While firmly rooted in the Blues from the Mississippi delta to Chicago, Rose City Kings’ music incorporates the modern sensibilities of rock and even touches swing at times. The band, which features original music, is led by the guitar playing and preacher-like soulful voice of Dan Berkery (aka Kolvane), Louisiana native Steve Kerin on keys, Gary Keeney on drums, Tim Shaughnessy on bass, David Lipkind on harmonica, and Katy Oberg on percussion and backing vocals. Rose City Kings will next appear at Highway 99 on Saturday November 7th at 8 pm and will play every song they know.
WHEN: Saturday, November 7th
WHERE: Highway 99
WHEN: 8 pm
FIND: 1414 Alaskan Way, Seattle