The Barfly - HQ Band - Down Home March 3, 2001

I have a confession to make. I am in love with Hector Qirko. But wait, it gets worse…It’s not just Hector I’m in love with, it’s the whole band. It’s puppy love. These guys can do no wrong. This is probably one of the best and yet under appreciated bands to play on one of Johnson City’s stages. It was almost a full house this last time Hector and the boys played the Down Home, and I, for one, was glad to see them finally getting the crowd they deserve here. I have yet to see another group of more talented musicians play here.It’s no secret that JC loves the blues. We are, after all, in “Little Chicago,” but I’ll share a little secret with you. I don’t really like “the blues.” Yes, call me a heretic, but it’s true. I think this may be because I’ve heard one crappy blues band too many around here, usually of the type that thinks they’re the coolest S!#@ to hit the fan because they all wear unglasses and dress like B.B. King. This is one reason I DON’T want to label the HQ band as a blues band. Yes, they play the blues, but they play a lot of other stuff, too. This last show of theirs at the Down Home, like all their others, did not disappoint. As well as blues, HQ Band touched the Funk category a few times, as well as what might be called “soul,” jazz, and some really awesome Latin influenced numbers.

It’s March 3rd, 2001. It’s 40 degrees outside, and I can’t stop thinking about palm trees and good Mexican beer under an umbrella on the beach…I don’t know if it is calypso, salsa, or bossa nova, but they’ve definitely got the Latin rhythm thing down. The guys even get crazy and do monkey calls when they get warmed up. Hector (guitar) and Dirk Weddington (sax) really warmed things up tonight, backed up by some really beautiful work by Steve Brown (percussion) and Jim Williams (bass).

One of the attractive things about HQ Band’s sound is just how effortless it is. This is another reason I hate to call HQ Band a blues band. Unlike a lot of blues bands who have a forced and in-your-face sound, HQ Band’s sound is like a dream. They don’t drag you around, they invite you along. The music is seductive, and the emotions that seem to be pouring from their instruments are contagious. It’s real, feel good blues. Smooth, fun, exciting, and mellow at the same time (which is once again making me think about good Mexican beer…). Tonight’s show included a little bit more experimental jamming than I’ve heard from them in the past, and it was great. These days, “experimental jamming” can mean a lot of senseless noise, but not with these guys, it was really most impressive.

Besides being an excellent band to go see play, they’re also an excellent band to hang out with, if that means anything to anyone out there. The band is just hip. Not the greaser-type “how’s my hair” hip, but the real deal. These are down to earth real people playing out of this world real music.

Check out their web site at, and also their CD South, it’s on my favorites list.

FlyGirl gives this show a very good 4 ½ fly rating. Check ‘em out.