Gary Clark Jr. Is All Soul In Powerful Portland Performance [Review/Gallery]

first_imgLoad remaining images On tour in support of new album The Story of Sonny Boy Slim (read the review here), Gary Clark Jr. played Portland, Oregon’s Roseland Theater as part of the city’s Soul’d Out Music Festival.The packed house was first treated to a set from Baskery. This band consists of three sisters from Stockholm, Sweden, and dishes up alternative folk rock with the help of a stand-up bass, a banjo-guitar, an electric guitar, and a small set of drums. They’ve been together as a band for almost a decade and have three albums and an EP to show for it. Their entertaining opening set was full of energy. They were engaged with the crowd and spoke of hanging out with a Gary Clark, Jr. backstage, mentioning how “badass” he was.When he did hit the stage, Gary Clark Jr. and his band came strong out of the gate with dirty blues rocker “Bright Lights.”  The lyric “You’re going to know my name by the end of the night,” undoubtedly held true for anyone who was witnessing Clark for the first time. Clark played a long set, made up almost entirely of songs from his fresh release, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, and 2012’s Blak and Blu.Backed by Johnny Bradley (bass), Johnny Radelat (drums) and Eric “King” Zapata on guitar, Clark illustrated the history as well as the future of the blues. Some of his tunes are direct callbacks to the blues of yesteryear (the undercurrent of his “Neighbor Blues” is reminiscent of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning, School Girl”), but overall Clark melds his influences and personal history into his own style.Clark’s attitude and look reinforce the authenticity of his songwriting and guitar playing chops. Taken as a whole, he exudes the blues. A sparse stage setup mimics how the band can slow it down, Clark demonstrating how emotion can be delivered in the space between the notes. He can draw the crowd in with slower sections before lifting them up and bringing the energy to a head.The encore included several songs, and Baskery came out to add vocals on one of them. After the soulful, harmonica-punctuated “Church,” Clark had one more powerful blues rocker in store to finish the show. Clark has been called a savior of the blues. Whether or not the blues needs saving is up for argument. But, without a doubt, Gary Clark Jr. is a powerful purveyor of the blues, and rock n’ roll.A full gallery of images can be seen below, courtesy of Greg Homolka Photography:last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *