The Vegabonds and Prophet Omega open for the Rich Robinson
Rich Robinson is kicking off a tour in support of his third solo flight, "The Ceaseless Sight." And it's definitely not just a CD. He's a big fan of vinyl. So how appropriate for him to play Center Stage's Vinyl, a black box that shares space with the bar.
New School Southern Rock
The Vegabonds opened and did a fantastic job of keeping the audience engaged. The house was sparse, but the stage was jam-packed with talent.
As every group who's played to a bar crowd knows, it can be easy to get ignored, especially when not taking the safe route of well-known covers, but still they forge ahead with their own great stuff.
And their own stuff is pretty darn great! Their "Shaky Hands" hit #1 on the IAIRA chart for unsigned bands. Take note, music industry suits!
Frontman Daniel Allen has a lot of the same moves and shakes as the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson, but appears to be rocking a lot steadier than he. Alex Cannon wields his axe like the ghost of Duane Allman, but these guys are not re-enactors. They've got a sound that's all their own, all the while harking back to the roots of Southern rock.
"American Eyes" was a standout with its soulful country pedal steel work by Charlie Daniels doppelganger Richard Forehand and Bryan Harris' spit-and-polish military tattoo on the snare.
Their "Sink or Swim" put me strongly in mind of "Midnight Rider." They'll love them at the improbable Peach Music Festival which is being held in Scranton, PA. Uuurrhh? Yep, not a typo.
Guess even Yankees need some good ol' Southern-fried rock! They've even got two Allman Brothers-related authors doing a reading and a book signing up in there. The Vegabonds will be a can't-miss crowd pleaser for any Allman fan.
Beau Cooper executes delicate key-tickling, but can kick it up to Jerry Lee Lewis level when the song calls for it. I spoke to his mother at the show and she confirmed that he is a classically trained musician, and it is very apparent in his practiced technique.
For this long-time Led Zep fan, it couldn't get any better than their slipping into a jam on "A Whole Lotta Love" in the middle of one of their own songs. Not even twinkles in their parents' eyes when Robert Plant and company began their global takeover, these guys are well grounded in the classics.
"Greatest band of all time," Allen told me after the show. They cite Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones as being other influences, along with the more obvious Skynyrd and the Allmans. Some songs had a semblance of Kings of Leon with just a soupçon of Matchbox 20.
The tub-thumping bass lines laid down by Paul Bruens build a strong foundation for all the great music laid out before the appreciative coterie.
As good as they know they are, even Danny Allen was surprised that their reach extended transatlantic with their first effort, so they've done two Eurotours. Kickstarter enabled them to put out their third album, which is still only the beginning for these guys who are huge talents.
Do yourself a favor -- check them out and then get out to see them whenever they come your way. And with their exhaustive and exhausting schedule, that just may be soon.