ION INDIE MAGAZINE May 2017, Volume 36 - Page 35

The ARTSQUEST CENTER at STEELSTACKS in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania hosted the 6th annual BLAST FURNACE BLUES FESTIVAL back in March. Among the many performers were headliners VICTOR WAINWRIGHT and ANA POPOVIĆ. VICTOR WAINWRIGHT Georgia native Wainwright has his share of accolades including numerous blues music awards—including “BB King Entertainer of the Year”—along with records on the BILLBOARD BLUES CHARTS in the top 10. However, it seemed as though his most treasured reward to date was the receptive response he received while connecting with his audience—and it was apparent that he reveled in dispensing joy through his music to those that listened. The warm and amicable Wainwright effortlessly moved up and down his piano, belting out honky tonk, boogie woogie, and soul music. Together with his 3-piece band, they delivered this hard-driving blues continuously while injecting his affable personality. Wainwright and his band built in some variety as well, with an a cappella stroll among the audience and an extended jam to "I Wanna Be Like You" from Disney's “The Jungle Book”. Each tune built upon the last with a growing energy that, by the end of the 75 minute performance, culminated in a standing ovation.