Written by Daniel Barker
May 28, 2009 at 09:00 PM
ImageHMR made it out to The Continental Club on Thursday May 28th, 2009 to catch Corpus Christi native Mando Saenz for a little Stingaree Festival 09 kickoff party if you will. Although not on the bill this year due to the scheduling conflicts, MS was a Sunday standout last year that has left us wanting more…Since moving to Nashville it seems like the guy doesn’t get around here much anymore. The Continental was his main Houston gig while living here and we were all glad he was back. This night I was joined by huge fans like DD, Maine, Frank, Sherry, & Brandi that literally came in from all over the state and one even from as far away as Annapolis, Maryland….Some of these diehards went to Arkansas earlier this year to see this man…

Mando is out on the road supporting his Feb. 5th release of “Bucket”. Bucket is a solid sophomore effort…What I have learned is that MS grows on you big time…Like the gloriously disorganized life he observed in his former neighborhood, his songs usually aren’t about linear expectations or predictable narratives, they are flashes of emotion, snapshots of time reassembled in his songs with rhyme and melody to make uncommon, musical sense by this MBA carrier. What I like is the way he uses his voice almost as another instrument at times holding harmonies with his guitar….AND he can pull it off live.

His 2005 debut CD “Watertown” is heavily influenced vocally by the amazing harmony with bass player Bonnie Whitmore…I had my fingers crossed upon buying tickets that she would be there and did it make my night when the lovely lady arrived…You can’t say much more about a kick ass female bass player that can sing this good….Bonnie has Houston ties of her own being the sister of Eleanor Whitmore who is engaged to local boy Chris Masterson…To hear more about Masterson you need to go back to Son Volt review this HMR did at this same venue… Bonnie engagement to Justin Townes Earle was recently broken off but she looks very optimistic having dropped twenty pounds of what she called “her happy fat”…..She is close to a releasing CD herself….These guys make a hell of team…

The sound on this night was bad. There were moments that were OK but it was hard to bear at times….And I felt sorry for the group when the place cleared out like a swine flu prank call had been made right after house band “Beatle” left the stage…What is up with that?….However, the guys made the best of it and put on a solid performance..There was some rust to knock off and Bonnie did break and nail had us rolling when she basically poured her makeup case on the stage to get her clipper pronto….Mando is a solid guitar player and can hold everything together in a way that seems effortless…vocal, guitar, harmonica..Good Stuff…The set list this night included:

1. Breakaway Speed
2. Round Unwound
3. Tonight Will Be Fine
4. Tangled Web
5. To Think About You
6. Watertown
7. When I Come Around
8. Wrong Guy
9. Pockets of Red
10. Pittsburgh
11. A Touch is All
12. Seven Dollars
13. Back Of Your Mind
14. Come Out Tonight
15. All Grown Up
16. Songbird
17. Colorado
18. Julia

Mando has some real talent and is a joy to watch live….HMR would like to thank him and Bonnie both for taking the time to visit before and after the show…If you get a chance catch this kid…You will not be let down….See you out supporting live music…