Article by: Glenn Woodell
Photos by: Wendy Podmenik Darugar & Glenn Woodell
Before Jesse Chong took the stage at the Hampton Block Party, the earlier rains had driven off much of the usual crowd that is usually gathered well before the show. But by the time he and his crew made their way toward the stage, the crowd was already getting pretty thick. I managed to make my way over to him and make my presence known as a sign of support and to wish him a good show, something I often do both as a music photographer and as a fellow musician.
Jesse is no newcomer to the area stages. He’s been a staple of the Hampton Roads scene, both as a solo and supporting artist, and also as an opener for a variety of larger acts such as Maroon 5, Derek Trucks, and Willie Nelson.
On this afternoon, he shared the stage with the Chong Band which on this occasion included Woody Wooderson on the sticks, Will Highton on the thick strings, Jeremy Mangrum on trumpet, Alex Winfield on the sax, and Bernie Lee on the keys. His smooth reggae appealed to everyone as evidenced by people of all ages up on their feet and moving to the music. Any hint of bad weather was long gone and replaced by the upbeat sounds of Jesse and his band.