Gary Clark Jr. is Mesmerizing at Amoeba Records

Gary Clark Jr.Gary Clark Jr. and his band took the stage at Amoeba Records just after 6 pm on Wednesday night and played a ferocious 40-minute set. The performance was to celebrate his new release, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, his second studio release and the follow up to the popular, Black and Blu, which was released in 2012. Coming off of two sold out shows opening for the Foo Fighters at the legendary Forum, Gary Clark Jr. played to a much more intimate, but highly enthusiastic crowd. The 8-song set was bookended with crowd favorite, “Bright Lights” and closed with “The Healing,” the opening track from the new album.

Gary used a pair of Fender Vibro Kings, a modest pedal board, and a few guitars that included: a GibsonGary Clark Jr. SG, Fender Custom Shop Strat, and his signature Epiphone Casino. Zapata, the other guitarist in the band, used pair of Fender Deluxe Reverb amps, a more populated but mysterious pedal board, with almost all of the pedals covered in black tape, and a couple of his signature Moollon guitars.

It’s no question that Gary is one of the more talented players out there and that talent was on full display during last night’s performance. When Gary Clark Jr. starts playing the guitar he is a force and people are immediately drawn to him. His playing commands your attention and rewards you with long lasting sonic gifts. Those who were fortunate enough to have been in attendance left with a memory and an experience that they soon won’t forget.

Gary Clark Jr.

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Joe Bonamassa Reigns Supreme

Photo: Stephen Rose

Photo: Stephen Rose

At the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Joe Bonamassa brought his Three Kings tour to a close with a fiery performance. The Three Kings tour highlighted the work of Freddie, Albert, and BB King. Bonamassa, a virtuoso in his own right, did a fantastic job showcasing the work of these iconic blues titans and was backed by a 10 piece band that included: guitarist, Kirk Fletcher, former Late Show with David Letterman drummer, Anton Fig, and Reese Wynans of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band, Double Trouble. Joe states, “All through the tour I’ve been saying the exact same thing: Behind me are 10 of the greatest musicians in the world. It’s true! The world’s greatest.”

I was in awe throughout the night as Bonamassa’s tech, Mike Hickey, brought out guitar after guitar that I, or any gearhead, would’ve loved to play, let alone own! The night began with a handful of Freddie King songs, including Going Down, followed by a grouping of Albert King songs before finishing off the set with some memorable material from BB King. The encore consisted of three songs that every guitar player ends up learning at some point: Hideaway, Born Under a Bad Sign, and The Thrill is Gone. 

Joe Bonamassa previously played shows dedicated to the music of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Unfortunately, I missed those performances, but feel very fortunate I was able to catch him on this night of royalty. Joe could feel that there was something special about this night and said, “I’m proud to say that after 13 years and almost 30 albums, I’ve achieved one of my greatest dreams in life, so thank you for being here.” I believe that many of those in attendance felt the same way, Joe.

I want to thank Sonya Singh for her contribution.

Setlist

See See Baby
Some Other Day, Some Other Time
Lonesome Whistle Blues
Sittin’ on the Boat Dock
You’ve Got to Love Her With a Feeling
Going Down
Play the Blues for You
I Get Evil
Breaking Up Somebody’s Home
Angel of Mercy
Cadillac Assembly Line
Oh, Pretty Woman
Let the Good Times Roll
Never Make Your Move Too Soon
Ole Time Religion
Nobody Loves Me but My Mother
Boogie Woogie Woman
Hummingbird

–Encore–

Hideaway
Born Under a Bad Sign
The Thrill is Gone
Joe Bonamassa

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I miss you, B.B. King

bbking.com

I’ve had a few days to process and understand what it means not to have B.B. King in our lives any longer. His music is something that will remain, but I have not known a world without B.B. King in it physically. When I was learning about the blues and specifically blues guitar, it was B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan who were my two guys. For some, their King was Albert or Freddie, but for me it has been and will always be B.B. King.

I was fortunate enough to meet B.B. King in 1988, when I was 10 years old. I met him at the LAX Airport. He walked over to my dad and they were talking about a music show they were both on years earlier. At that age I wasn’t able to understand the importance of the person who was standing in front of me. All I knew was that they were talking about boring things and I was ready to leave the airport. The only artists I cared about were Guns N’ Roses and that wasn’t Slash he was talking to. When we develop the technology to go back in time, I have made the promise to return to that moment and kick myself. Although, what did you expect from a 10 year old? Continue reading

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