The Bloomington blues band King Bee & the Stingers will represent the Hoosier state at the International Blues Challenge.
The band bested the other groups that performed at the Slippery Noodle last Sunday: Nine Below Zero (runner up), the Circle City Blues Band (third place), Blonde and Dangerous, Smoke Wagon Band, One Side Later, Shock Therapy, Miss Loretta’s Gooden Plenty Project and Phoebe and the Mojo Makers (a no-show).
The IBC will take place in Memphis in February of 2009. Last year’s competition featured 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts from across the globe.
Band member Mark Menefee said he’s excited to take the band to Memphis to represent the state.
“It’s just great. There’s a hell of a lot of competition here in the state. We were just jazzed to play here tonight. We had a great time,” Menefee said.
Previous IBC winners include Zac Harmon, Trampled Under Foot and Sean Carney Band. Previous participants include Susan Tedeschi, Tommy Castro, Watermelon Slim, Michael Burks, Super Chikan and Albert Cummings. Winners and competitors have received offers to perform at blues festivals across the country and blues labels take notice.
“To win there would be the wildest thing,” Menefee said. “No matter what happens, I feel great about this night with our friends and the other bands from Indiana.”
Also representing Indiana in the solo/duo category will be Hot Brown, the guitar/piano combo of Steve and Mike Brown, one-half of Mojo Gumbo. The solo/duo competition was Sept. 28.
Both events were sponsored by Indy Crossroads Blues, Inc., an affiliate member of the Blues Foundation. The cover charge and donations by fans will help cover expenses for the musicians.
Matthew Socey is host of The Blues House Party, Saturdays at 10 p.m. on WFYI 90.1 FM.