If the present-day Mississippi blues-and- boogie crowd hasn't already heard the footsteps from up North, it oughta. A particularly nasty fivesome from Detroit has been generating some of the strongest hoodoo energy around, and in the tradition of the original Mississippi-to-Motown boogiemeister John Lee Hooker, has put a rough-and-ready urban spin on its sound.
The Howling Diablos beat on the blues with the best of 'em, and, true to the band's hometown, the group makes great attitude music. Vocalist Tino Gross possesses one of the scarier growls around, and one can't help but hear a bit of Iggy in her, alongside the blues. Guitarist Mike Smith can play the blues straight or amp it up, and drummer Shannon Boone is a basher supreme.
The band made its bones in the mid-'90s, opening for and backing up touring blues acts at Sully's, a Detroit blues haven. Since then, the Diablos have shared the stage and the studio with Parliament/ Funkadelic, Hank Williams Jr., the late R.L. Burnside, and Kid Rock. The band has laid down a few self-produced discs, and its latest, Car Wash, is a gem worth tracking down.