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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys March 22 at the Tip Top

With that unmistakable evangelical flair the Reverend Raven gathers his followers in the dark of night. Go, he says, to the next open clearing and wait for me there. The Reverend’s flock ritualistically heads for the nearest dance floor. Once assembled the charismatic Reverend reveals his timeless message: you shall dance and enjoy yourselves whilst in my midst. Grand Rapids is in store for this and other divine edicts when Milwaukee-based Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys return Friday March 22 to the Tip Top.

“My set is blues music except there’s more dancing,” The Reverend said. “The idea is to try to keep a bar full of people entertained.” Raven says that his sound is charged with 60s-70s Chicago blues grooves, one of which is the revered Elmore James boogie.

RRCSAB is known as a working band who tour constantly. Raven admits they don’t always hit a home run every time at bat. There are those occasions when they get booked into a sports bar by mistake. But more often than not, as they say, the basket looks twice as big most nights and they cannot miss. “It’s all about living for that one moment,” Raven said. “The beauty of it is you don’t know where it’s going to happen. It can happen and at the Tip Top; it can happen at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. It’s a combination of a good crowd, the band sounds right, and you’ve had a good night’s sleep; plus all the equipment is working. Pretty soon the energy between the band and the crowd is feeding back and forth.”  
If people still aren’t dancing in the time frame set down by the Reverend, he seeks some kind of intervention from his longtime piano player Danny Moore. Moore has played with Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson and fronts his own rockabilly band on the side. Forget about the guitar rumba for a minute and let the tinkling, rollicking piano through. Woe the nonbelievers if they fail the Reverend's call now for he will be forced to brandish the slide guitar in what he calls the fire and brimstone Hound Dog Taylor set. “Younger people, students, really like that stuff,” Raven said. “It gets them going. I know my kids like it.” The key to salvation, according to the Reverend Raven, is getting that certain demographic on the dance floor first. After that his work is done. “Early on we focus on getting the ladies up moving. When that happens we’ve got it made."

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys March 22 at the Tip Top Deluxe. $10. 8 pm doors, 9 show. 

Advance tickets: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=3372144&pl=tiptop

More info on the Rev: http://www.reverendraven.com/

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