Live Review: Gary Clark Jr

8 January 2016 | 12:26 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"We immediately enter their infectious swampy wonderland and you can smell the Jack Daniel’s sweat emanating from crowd members."

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A single spotlight penetrates the smoke-filled stage to illuminate Gary Clark Jr. His tailoring is shambolic suave and he totally should be a hat model. He does his thing solo and then full stage lights are utilised to illuminate his three-piece backing band. We immediately enter their infectious swampy wonderland and you can smell the Jack Daniel’s sweat emanating from crowd members. There's a lot of screwed up noses and head-nodding going on both on stage and off. Punters yelp and howl their appreciation.   

Clark riffs so fast his hands blur and sometimes his instrument seems to dictate what he plays, which is riveting. "Stoned Gary does 30-minute solos," a neighbour in the crowd announces just before Clark Jr brings his axe to a climax. Rhythm guitarist Eric 'King' Zapata — who also wears a hat (plus sunnies) — ain't too shabby in the skills department either. A coupla fans yell out, "Gazzza!" during quieter moments and we're not sure this would occur anywhere else in the world (except when travelling Aussies attend his shows abroad). Fantasies go into overdrive during Our Love ("You are my lady/I am your man") and we try to block out the fact that Clark is engaged to, and has a son with, Nicole Trunfio.

A guitar tech comes out to fix a peddle Clark Jr is dissatisfied with. Don't Owe You A Thang conjures a right old knees up and it's tricky to swerve and dodge flying elbows in the front section. "This has been fun, thanks for coming and hanging with us," Clark Jr says.

The quartet leaves the stage, but the house lights remain off. Much cheering and stamping of feet ensues. Clark Jr returns to the stage solo with harmonica holder in place to commence an encore. Soon he's joined by drummer Johnny Radelat and they close out this evening's two-hour performance rather tenderly. Clark Jr is somethin' special alright: The Guitar Whisperer. 

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