Pepe’s gone—but Wally’s back to play the blues | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Pepe’s gone—but Wally’s back to play the blues
Wally Gonzalez plays with the Manila Blues Experience on July 26 at Green Sun.

Wally Gonzalez has always loved to play for anyone who listens to blues rock. Pepe Smith, his longtime cohort in the Juan dela Cruz Band and a lifelong bluesman, passed away last January, but Gonzalez is back after a hiatus to perform with one of his side projects, The Manila Blues Experience (MBE), on July 26 at The Axon, a big hall in Green Sun hotel in Makati.

It was the same venue of a recent gig that featured the Steely Dan-inspired band, The Black Cows. Tony Fernando, who runs The Smoking Joint (TSJ), a restaurant adjacent to Green Sun, produced that gig, which he’s following up with the July 26 show.

The thing is that Fernando is giving the TSJ crowd a more spacious venue to enjoy live music, which he used to mount regularly at TSJ.

The MBE lineup that will play on July 26 is composed of, aside from Gonzalez on guitar; Kat Agarrado, vocals; Louie Talan, bass; Wowee Posadas, keyboards; and Wendell Garcia, drums.

Pepe’s gone—but Wally’s back to play the blues
Wally Gonzalez plays with the Manila Blues Experience on July 26 at Green Sun.

A sample of the band’s repertoire from a 2013 gig at the Martinis Bar in the old Mandarin Oriental Manila: B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby,” Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason,” Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” the Dusty Springfield hit “Son of a Preacher Man,” Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy,” the Wilson Pickett hit “Mustang Sally,” Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads.”

Opening for MBE on July 26 is the Bleu Rascals, which says a lot about what to expect—a headful of blues, all night long.

Food and drinks from the TSJ menu are available. During the Black Cows gig, I remember seeing a group of La Salle Green Hills alumni digging into crispy pata while chugging San Miguel beer.

The Axon, Green Sun hotel, 2285 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City

Kowboy Santos a revelation

At the 2019 Fête dela Musique Manila, one of the pocket shows, held at La Collina in Poblacion, Makati, featured a band called Deja Blue, composed of Doc Ted on guitar; Kowboy Santos, guitar; Paolo Manuel, drums; Jibby Borgaily; Rene Comprendio, keyboards; and guest singer Charlie Ysmael.

Santos was a revelation—squeezing out hot licks from his axe with the confidence of a rock star. The only son of Pinoy Rock queen Sampaguita and impresario Nilo Santos is ripe to pursue his own career as a musician.

Pepe’s gone—but Wally’s back to play the blues
Kowboy Santos at a recent gig in La Collina, Makati

He’s been playing with friends in various bands, but here’s hoping he finds enough motivation to keep going.

La Collina Restaurant & Bar, 4558 Molina corner Quintos St. Poblacion, Makati; tel. 0917-3252168; e-mail [email protected];
Facebook: Eat.LaCollina

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