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Audience 'Under Siege'
Friday June 23, 2006

The music started first, prompting the crowd to move to the bluesy beat.

"Make some noise!" a backup singer yelled, as he commanded people to get up and clap their hands.

Moments later, screams filled The Maryland Theatre Thursday night as actor and musician Steven Seagal walked on stage with a guitar clinging to his chest.

The music continued, and so did the crowd, which stood and danced along in their seats.

Seagal, wearing blue jeans and a bright yellow sleeveless shirt exposing the muscles his movie fans have become familiar with, and his band, Thunderbox, didn't take to the stage until nearly 10 p.m., but the crowd didn't seem to care.

Steven Seagal & Thunderbox On Stage

Cheers of affirmation could be heard as the blues band played its first number.

"That's what I'm talking about," Seagal said amid shouts from the crowd as the opening song ended.

"It's hot up here, y'all, and it's only going to get hotter!" Seagal encouraged the crowd.

Seagal is on tour promoting the May release of his album, "Mojo Priest." Song titles on the album include "Gunfire in the Juke Joint," "She Dat Pretty" and "Slow Boat to China."

Dave Schober of Union Bridge, Md., knew Seagal was in a blues band, but he never had heard him play until Thursday.

"I know he's also a big collector of guitars, like me," Schober said.

Schober said he attended the concert for a night out on the town.

The Stonebergers, of Hagerstown, are fans of Seagal's movies, saying they have seen nearly all of them.

While Sandy Stoneberger joked that she and her husband have wondered how many people Seagal would beat up within the first 30 minutes of a movie, she said they had no idea he was a musician.

"We didn't know he had a band until we saw it in the newspaper," Sandy Stoneberger said before Seagal performed.

So, they decided to come out and see their action hero in person.

Bill Stoneberger said he thought Seagal's music would be good even before the show started.

"I just think he has the voice, and the way he carries himself, he's going to be good," Stoneberger said.


Steven Seagal passes the blues test at Gold Country


Big-screen martial arts star Steven Seagal, sporting a flying-V guitar, leads a spirited set of blues with his band, Thunderbox, June 8 at Gold Country Casino in Oroville.

OROVILLE -- Last Thursday night, arguably the finest martial arts actor of our time revealed another side of himself at Gold Country Casino. Specifically, Steven Seagal and his band Thunderbox brought some outstanding deep Delta blues to the nearly sold-out crowd.

Thunderbox comprises what must be some of the best blues musicians from the Memphis, Tenn., area.

As Seagal and band opened their set, the audience was a bit stunned, not knowing exactly what to expect. Then there was a gratifying awe after the first song as Seagal announced, "That's what I'm talkin' about!"

After about four songs he took time to introduce his smoking band, giving the nod for each to perform a lengthy and tastefully executed solo. Seagal's playing style was simple and his flying-V guitar strapped snugly to his considerable frame gave a slightly awkward appearance, but he thrilled the enthusiastic audience. The crowd's appreciative hoots and hollers were met by wide grins from the big-screen action hero.

I must admit I was somewhat leery in my expectations of Seagal's musical explorations. However, his enthusiasm for the music itself as well as the performance were clearly evident and contagious throughout the band and to the audience. That is, except for the 10 percent or so that were probably in their 70s who left within the first two songs. This was quite understandable as the sound was clear, loud and absolutely guitar driven.

Thunderbox consists of three guitarists, including Seagal, trading between rhythm, slide, lead and solo licks. One player sported a double rattlesnake-head hat. The intensity of the guitar interchanges were sonically powerful but the expression from the players was of ease and joy.

Clearly leading the band was a young drummer, obviously jazz-schooled, driving the driving the rhythm from the top while remaining crisp. The rhythm was complemented by the bass player. He was up in the mix far enough, enabling him to ride the beat alongside the drummer without being drowned out.

Thunderbox's instrumentation is completed with a young keyboardist who Seagal introduced as on par with the recently deceased Billy Preston, but for me the highlight of the band was Seagal's backup singers. While Seagal sang lead on most of the first five or so songs, his backup singers took a larger role in the vocals deeper into the show. This male and female pair had so much enthusiasm and talent they commanded the audience.

After an approximately 10 song high-energy set, the "Love Doctor" handed his flying V off to a roadie and headed off the stage. Thunderbox finished the song to roars and more cheers. Once the stage was clear, chants of "Steven, Steven" arose and spread quickly through the crowd. After a very short interval they returned, eliciting more cheers for "The Mojo Priest" himself. Seagal emerged with a huge smile as the crowd left their seats to come to the stage for a better look. Seagal and Thunderbox tore through a strong encore, leaving with high fives for the crowd.

Steven Seagal's popularity is still very strong as a growing line of more than 100 was forming in the lobby for a meet-and-autograph-session after the show. But only those fortunate enough to purchase the CD were able to get in.

Steven Seagal plays blues concert at Pepe’s on the River
June 11,2006

Monitor Staff Writer


MISSION — Without even hearing a song from any of Steven Seagal’s two albums, Alicia Consiglio drove with two of her friends to the action star’s concert at Pepe’s on the River on Saturday.

“He’s very good looking,” she said, as her friends, Cris Corona and Eva Chipps, laughed.

The three women are big blues fans, regulars at Harlingen’s Blues on the Hill concerts each summer. But they’re even bigger fans of the pony-tailed, kimono wearing Seagal.

They packed in with hundreds of others at Pepe’s, enjoying heaping plates of botanas and sipping on margaritas, Miller Lites and Bud Lights at the 2nd annual Blues by the River Festival.

Jake Cortes & The Recipe For the Trouble warmed up the crowd before Seagal — who is b