Blues acts to power-up downtown theater renovation

By Noah Lopez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 18, 1996

Bob Margolin performs Jan 19 at 9 p.m. at the Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress. All tickets are $5.00 and are available at Hears Music and all Zia locations.

Jerry Lightfoot and the Essentials play a free show for the Rialto Open House January 20, from 8 p.m. to midnight.

For more information, call 795-1420.

The renovation of Tucson's historic Rialto theater takes another step forward this weekend, when the theater plays host to two evenings of house rockin' blues.

Tomorrow night blues guitar legend Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin opens the theaters doors at 9 p.m. Margolin is best known for his work with the Muddy Waters band in the 70s, and his cutting slide guitar and genuine Chicago blues sound have found him work w ith a veritable who's who of blues legend. B.B. King, Lightnin' Hopkins, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor, Albert King and Etta James are just a few of Margolin's gigging and jamming history. In addition to those heavy names, Margolin as al so played with or opened with some of the biggest names in blues rock and roll, including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Winter, Bonnie Raitt, and the Allman Brothers.

Margolin is touring in support of his latest album My Blues and My Guitar on the Alligator imprint. The album brings Margolin's rich Chicago blues background up to speed with a host of other ingredients. Old time rock and roll, jump jazz and clever songwr iting waft in and out of Margolin's pinpoint guitar playing.

The bargain $5 ticket price for Margolin's show goes to further the current renovation of the downtown Rialto theater.

"We're still in restoration," renovation leader and promoter for this weekend's benefit Jeb Schoonover says. "But we've got 300 chairs in back, and space for dancing up front ... it's a little funky, but it's cool."

If the Chicago blues trappings of Bob Margolin aren't enough to attract people to the theater, there's always the offering of an open house (read "free") on Saturday when Texas bluesman Jerry Lightfoot performs. A longtime force in the Texas blues scene, Lightfoot is touring behind his deep burning brand of blues and his long awaited CD debut Burning Desire.

Lightfoot€whose touring credits include a ton of modern day roots legends such as Angela Strehli and Trudy Lynn€ and his backup band the Essentials have received the accolade "Best in Houston Blues" for three consecutive years.

The free show is also a chance to see what the restoration project has in store for one of Tucson's oldest venues.

"What we're trying to do, is there's a lack of national touring venues in Tucson. We're trying to create another niche," adds Schoonover. "It's a great old theater. It's acoustically and visually exciting."

"The whole idea behind Saturday's show, is we want people from Downtown Saturday Night to say 'Hey, look it's a new venue!' and check us out."

These are two nights Tucson blues lovers do not want to miss.