• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • September 19th, 2018

    reCAP :: Gary Clark Jr. :: 2018.09.13

    Words by: Phil Renart
    Photos by: Geoff Tischman

    September 13th was a loud night. A spectacularly loud night. A night proud of its loudness—from the screaming fans to the bands themselves. When the opening act, Think No Think first strutted out onto the stage, it is my assumption that most in the audience did not know what to expect. As a self-described “noisy and melodic three-piece rock band from Austin Texas,” they did not disappoint.

    Right off the bat, Think No Think kicked off the show with a charging barrage of non-stop riffs, squelching guitar solos, and fierce musical attack. Not only was this hard rock trio a pleasant surprise to the audience, but they did a fantastic job in setting the tone for what was to come: Mr. Clark. By the time they finished their set, the audience, roaring with applause, was ready for the main act.

    Mr. Clark and his band leisurely strolled onto the stage, with a confidence and swagger apparent to everyone in attendance. Guitarist King Zapata was decked out in flowing blue robes and black sunglasses. Drummer Johnny Radelat assumed his position with a look of sheer, deliberate concentration. Finally, Mr. Clark himself, now at the center of the stage, took his place in his button down shirt and cowboy hat, the very essence of “cool.”

    The band opened up their set with a smoky, slow-churning version of the “Catfish Blues.” Though a standard, Mr. Clark and his band played it as if it had never been played before. One of the band’s most identifiable features is exactly that—they are easily identifiable. They immediately distinguish themselves from any other current blues act. In a genre many would argue is struggling to stay fresh, Gary Clark Jr. and his band completely defy that notion from the moment they start to play their instruments. While their originals teem with creativity, their covers also provide fresh, powerful insights into songs redone a thousand times over, which is no small thing.

    Gary Clark Jr. next defiantly stomped through the sinister “Next Door Neighbor,” which transitioned to the constant, controlled simmer of “When My Train Pulls In,” which never quite boiled over until the final guitar solo, where the suspense finally paid off. Next, Mr. Clark and his band dialed it back ever so slightly for a funky, yet forceful version of his song, “Cold Blooded,” wherein he shifted the spotlight onto his vocal range.

    After playing a couple of their new songs, Mr. Clark and his band played a moody, yet hopeful version of “Low Down Rolling Stone,” which bled into yet another thunderous guitar solo, driving fans wild with applause. This was followed up by “My Baby’s Gone,” which went from a slow, soulful chug, to a revved-up, steamrolling, head-bobbing version of itself.

    The crowd’s cheering was almost certainly loudest during Clark’s cover of Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City.” As a raucous, rich in tone and commanding cover, a good portion of those seated were standing by its close.

    Much to the crowd’s delight, Clark and his band came back out to play a two-song encore. The first, “Things Are Changing,” mellowed things out a bit, like the calm after a storm. However, this did not last—Clark closed out his concert with a crunchy, fuzzy version of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” in anthem-like fashion, proving that if any other band on earth could pull that song off, somehow, some way, it was them.

    Overall, September 13th was a night of vibrant sounds, packed with innovation, as well as style, and, not to mention, the perfect venue. While the bands were fantastic themselves, they were not the only talented groups present—the lighting crew did an awesome job of enhancing every bit of the experience through their precision and aesthetic sensibilities. At the end of the day, you can always tell you were at a good concert when people are smiling, even after they’ve left the theatre and are walking back down the street.