All posts by Josh Mintz

Clapton and Trucks burn down Atlanta

Eric Clapton

Gwinnett Civic Center

Duluth, GA

October 14, 2006 

 

Sometimes bandmate are able to interact so well that it seems like a match made in heaven.  In the case of Derek Trucks and Eric Clapton, perhaps it is in the literal sense.

 

As Derek played Clapton’s former Derek & the Dominoes foil Duane Allman’s slide guitar part during the coda of "Layla" in Duluth, Georgia, Duane was probably smiling from somewhere up above.  While stylisitcally Duane and Derek are not mirror images, there’s just something there in Derek that evokes Allman’s image.

 

Regardless of any cosmic connections, from the opening notes of "Pretending" at Clapton’s show at the Gwinnett Civic Center this was a band that was clearly locked in and firing on all cylinders.  "I Shot the Sheriff" had Clapton singing with the conviction and passion he had in the 1970’s, and bassist Willie Weeks got a nice little bass solo during "Got To Get Better In A Little While" as Trucks switched from his Les Paul to his SG.

 

Opener Robert Cray came on stage for "Old Love," which featured a great guitar solo from Clapton.  After a nod to the D&D days with "Anyday," "Motherless Children" was busted out, and with Trucks, Clapton, and Doyle Bramhall II all on slide guitar, it was definitely one of the highlights of the night.  Their triple slide attack was fantastic, as all three guitars sang in unison.

 

There has been a seated, acoustic portion of each of Clapton’s shows on tour, and after "Motherless Children" the lights in the arena went out.  The roadies brought out two chairs, and Trucks and Clapton took a seat center-stage, spot-lit with guitars in hand.  They ran through the first few bars of "Back Home" before the lights slowly went up across the rest of the stage as the rest of the band quietly joined in.  Bramhall, absent for the first song, came back out for the rest of the set as Trucks put away the acoustic and played his SG on the remaining songs, "I Am Yours," "Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,"and a phenomenal "Running on Faith."

 

The band was back to full electric for "After Midnight," and then Clapton completely owned "Little Queen of Spades."  He’s clearly been pushed by the young guitarists like he hasn’t been pushed in quite a while, and has responded with sharp guitar work.  On "Little Queen of Spades," the guitarists took turns soloing, each one setting the bar just a bit higher for the next guitarist to hurdle.  Trucks was perfect here, and the crowd exploded after his solo.

 

After "Further On Up The Road," the band slowed it down a bit with "Wonderful Tonight."  Then, Trucks’ guitar conjured the ghost of Allman, and the opening riff to "Layla," arguably the 7 most famous notes in guitar history, rang out across the Gwinnett Civic Center.  The crowd exploded, and the band responded.  Pianist Chris Stainton’s work on the coda was perfect; in fact, he was stellar all night, the unsung hero in a band which spotlights (and rightly so) instruments of the six-stringed kind.  As Stainton, Trucks, and Clapton brought "Layla" home, the band broke into "Cocaine."  Clapton’s only just started playing this song after a long absence in his setlists, and he’s added the word "deadly" to the chorus (she’s all right, she’s all right, she’s all right…that deadly cocaine).

 

After a short encore break, the band was joined again by Cray for "Crossroads," and they called it a night.

 

In the grand scheme of rock and roll shows, Clapton’s currently got one of, if not the best one out there.  With each note he shows why he’s the legend on stage, and in the process he’s building that of Trucks.  While Bramhall certainly is a great guitarist in his own right, on some songs it really seems like it’s the "Derek Trucks show."  Hopefully Trucks is soaking up all of this, because sooner rather than later, he’s not going to be a sideman to anyone; these huge crowds that show up to see Clapton will soon be showing up for him.    

Bluegrass + electronica = great show in Memphis

Wayword Sons with Vince Herman   "We're gonna get some bluegrass particles flyin' around here," said Vince Herman as he took the Newby's stage with the Wayword Sons in Memphis.

The Wayword Sons with Vince Herman/Particle
Newby's
Memphis, Tennessee
9-19-06

words/photos by Josh Mintz 

 

 

 

Continue reading Bluegrass + electronica = great show in Memphis

Black Crowes Rock at Riverbend

Black Crowes

Riverbend Music Center

Cincinnati, Ohio 

August 5, 2006
 

 

The Black Crowes landed on stage at Cincinnati, Ohio’s Riverbend Music Center on August 5, 2006. The legendary Southern band brought with them a sense of purpose in their musical direction and linear improvisational approach. Taking a cue from The Grateful Dead, the Crowes loosely began the evening, jamming several minutes before "Black Moon Creeping" off of 1992’s The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion began to take shape.

Continue reading Black Crowes Rock at Riverbend

Los Lonely Boys: Sacred

Epic/Or Music/One Haven

Southwestern trio Los Lonely Boys return to rock with Sacred, the first album of original material since their 2004 debut. Sounding like a cross between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Los Lobos, the Garza brothers —Henry, JoJo and Ringo— turn in an inspired disc full of hairpin musical twists and turns, showing off a rich heritage of cultural diversity near the Texas/Mexico border.

 

True, some of Sacred's hot spots are the pop oriented big production numbers like the fluff and sass of the radio ready "Roses." But, John Porter and Mark Wright's crisp, clear assistance at Pedernales studios in Austin, Texas equals a larger, more inclusive Los Lonely Boys recording that stretches across a wider spectrum and is destined to bring the band a broader demographic.

 

The opener "My Way," smolders with the Texas roadhouse blues of Henry Garza's guitar and vocals meshing with JoJo's fluent, rhythmic forays on bass guitar. The Texas Horns chime in to lend a hand, and "My Way" fulfills Los Lonely Boys' promise from their first outing, setting them on an extended career path as headliners. "Diamonds" is another gem benefiting from Porter and Wright's techno enhancing savvy, and Ringo's stormy drum breaks pop up into the forefront of the mix.

 

Aficionado's of the SRV, Albert Collins school of showy, electrified blues will enthuse on Henry's scorching wall of sound on "Oye Mamacita." The Boys bring out the mellower, Latin romantic side of their background on "I Never Met a Woman." And, they get a little help from their father, Enrique Garza, Sr., and mentor Willie Nelson on the country flavored "Outlaws." Sacred sets up the building blocks of Los Lonely Boys' escalating pyramid, putting them in rarefied territory with past greats that have crossed the rock and roll and blues divide, laying a solid groundwork that stands the test of time.