New Grammy Winner Christone “Kingfish” Ingram Dazzles The Apollo Theatre With Virtuoso Chops (SHOW REVIEW)

One of the brightest young stars in the blues universe shined all over the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on Thursday night March 31st as 22-year-old Christone “Kingfish” Ingram dazzled the crowd with his phenomenal talents – just days before earning a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his most recent album 662.

Before that however, Rizzi Palmer opened the show displaying her mix of Tracy Chapman-inspired folk and Tina Turner-driven soul as she sang passionately in front of a tight, dapperly dressed backing band. The group eased into “Anything But Yours” allowing Palmer’s voice to soar through the venue around light percussion and groove. Mid song the players dipped into “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, easily segueing back into the original before the crowd aided sing-along “Soul Message”. Palmer and company closed the set with the southern, heavy soul-stomping number titled “Revival” to a standing ovation. 

After a short break, the curtain rose, displaying the backing band of Eric Robert on keys, Chris Black on drums, and Paul Rogers on bass with Kingfish wailing on his guitar offstage.  Once he ambled on, the night never let up as he held the audience in the palm of his hand. During the opening “She Calls Me Kingfish” Ingram pumped high octane blues riffs before dropping into uber-quite heart-bleeding notes as the audience was enraptured and with him each pluck of the strings. 

“Fresh Out” delivered the electric banging blues in Buddy Guy style with a focus on Robert’s keys while “Another Life Goes By” was played straight ahead as its message sank in. The funky chicken scratch strutting of “Too Young To Remember” kicked off a killer rock star montage as Kingfish proceeded to jam in the crowd from the orchestra seats before moving up to the balcony and riffing with his tongue overlooking the famous theater.    

A mini acoustic solo set followed and proved Kingfish was just as adept at slowing it down as he was at riling it up with a dynamite delivery of “Been Here Before”. The band returned for some soul music on “That’s All It Takes” and while the quartet was tight, added horns would send this number over the top. The burning blues of “I’m Not Gonna Lie” and the motoring “662” ended the set on an exhilarating high note as the band was firing on all fronts before an encore of a psychedelic touched “Hey Joe” wrapped up the night and played homage to just one of Kingfish’s many influences Jimi Hendrix.   

The future’s incredibly bright for this 23-year-old superstar who sings and plays beyond his years. This night will be burned in all of his fans’ minds as Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and his band wowed the Apollo Theater and proved that the blues are in good hands going forward.   

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One Response

  1. That article was very well written. But I have a question about Rizzi Palmer. I was fascinated by your description and tried to look her up but the only person I found is Rissi Palmer and it doesn’t seem like the same vibe as you described. Do you know how to look Rizzi up?

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