Possessed by the blues

By Brett Roegiers
Gainesville.com

Four men dressed in suits stood in a circle center stage, each taking a shot of Jack Danielís before arming themselves with their instruments, ready to prove to the packed venue that passionate blues music was not just a thing of the past.

This was not Vini and the Demons first time in Gainesville. In fact, this is where they got their start before relocating to Chicago in the winter of 2001.

The band was now in the midst of a southern tour, stopping for two nights of shows at Eddie Cís before making their way to the aptly-named Tobacco Road in Miami. I say ďaptly-namedĒ because Vini and the Demons very adamantly refuse to play non-smoking venues.

Wednesday night, there was no shortage of cigarette smoke, alcohol and loud, unapologetic blues music. Iím certain the Demons felt right at home, and the patrons seemed in their element as well, drinking, dancing and allowing the music to overtake them.

The music was a blend of old and new, as the band played both time-tested classics and original Demons tunes. Regardless of who wrote it, all of the songs were played with an otherworldly intensity and fervor, and it was obvious that they were very serious about what they did.

They passionately replicated and interpreted traditional blues standards by the likes of Muddy Waters and Freddie King, adding their own personal flair at times, but knowing when to stick to the way it was written.

Many of the songs that they played were on the CD that they had for sale, though $15 seemed a bit steep.

In between sets, they took breaks to drink, talk and recharge before retaking the stage to inject more blues into the veins of the audience.

They continued playing well into the night, and came back again on Thursday to do it all over again.