Gary Clark Jr., Bonnaroo Buzz Tour
The Stone Pony
May 17, 2011
ASBURY PARK, NJ—In celebration of 10 glorious years, The Bonnaroo Music And Arts festival decided to put some of the most talked about bands on the road for a 13-date tour that kicked off right here in the Shoreworld stomping grounds of Asbury Park. With everything from free ice cream, courtesy of Ben & Jerry’s (the flavor was Bonnaroo Buzz), to the hilarious stand up shenanigans of Julian McCullough, this sideshow looks to be pulling out all the stops along its promotional track that ends up back at the main Bonnaroo event on June 9 to 12 in Manchester, Tennessee.
Like a glorious Pied Piper of sorts, the Bonnaroo Buzz tour winds throughout the land of musical followers, consisting of Grace Potter And The Nocturnals, Gary Clark Jr., The Black Box Revelation, Futurebirds and comedian Julian McCullough on select dates. Tonight’s focus was Gary Clark Jr., who began playing guitar at the ripe young age of 12. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Gary was noticed by the legendary Clifford Antone, owner of the notable Austin blues club Antone’s. Through the connections made by Clifford within his club, Gary soon was sitting in and learning from various musical icons, including the incomparable Jimmie Vaughan.
Through the education provided by Jimmie and others within the Austin music community, Gary began to receive much critical acclaim from both his musical peers and the Austin community as a whole. Gary went on to win the Austin Music Award for Best Blues and Electric Guitarist on three separate occasions, as well as awards from blues magazines and associations throughout the country.
That mentoring definitely comes through in Clark’s live sound as he squeezes every bit of boogie blues-rock out of his Bigsby equipped Casino. Mixing the swampy vibe of Jerry Reed with the down and dirty hyperbole of Black Oak Arkansas and Hendrix, Clark and his three-guitar attack bring back overindulgence in a good way. While he’s often compared to guys like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix, I think he has a lot more Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) and Paul Kossoff (Free) in him then those comparative examples. In a world of blues prodigies and wonder kid mauling $4,000 “relic” guitars with two-handed tapping, Gary’s off the cuff fretboard passion puts him smack dab in the middle of music that is genuine and filled with tradition.
Clark’s material was on fire tonight with songs such as the highly touted “Bright Lights,” a tune that lets the influential cat out of the bag along the lines of 1970s rockers Bad Company and the switchblade-dangerous blues of John Lee Hooker. Clark’s penchant for groove-based compositions kept the house on their feet throughout his too-short set. Other songs such as “Don’t Owe You A Thing” and “When My Train Pulls In” definitely left an imprint with this Stone Pony audience. I don’t think they’ll forget him when he’s back in town.
After playing the nationally televised Austin City Limits and touring with artists like Jimmie Vaughan, Pinetop Perkins and Doyle Bramhall, he continued his performance career by releasing three self-produced albums and scoring the major motion picture Full Count.
He also starred in a principal role in the John Sayles film Honeydripper alongside Danny Glover and Stacey Keach. Gary Clark Jr. will be supporting the amazing Grace Potter And The Nocturnals on the Bonnaroo Buzz tour that eventually ends up in Manchester, TN, on June 9. For more information on Gary Clark Jr. and the current tour, head over to garyclarkjr.com.
Pawn Stars Gold And Silver Road Show
The Count Basie Theatre
May 8, 2011
RED BANK, NJ—When you think of a pawnbroker, you’re usually picturing some cigar-chomping crank standing behind a glass barrier and handing out mere pennies on items worth far more than the downtrodden owner can afford to wait for. This unbankable clientele take what they can get and the pawnshop sells it for a profit, and that’s just the way it’s always been. At least it was until eBay and Craigslist changed the game.
When the History Channel unveiled its Pawn Stars reality show, people were immediately hooked by the combination of education (after all, it is the History Channel) and the interactions between appraiser and perspective seller. The show’s look into the blundering day-to-day operations of the pawn business and the interesting items and stories come through their doors are always a winner in my book. From ancient firearms and swords to vintage guitars and historic documents from Presidents, these “blue collar” Joe’s see it all roll off of the Vegas Strip and straight into their shop.
And while pawnshops in general are nothing to raise an eyebrow at, these three generations of Vegas curmudgeons are really a big part of why the History Channel grabbed the idea and ran with it. The main players range from the cantankerous and miserly old man to just plain out ridiculous countermeasures of Chumlee. The live road show tonight at The Count Basie was an interesting promotional tool to announce season six and it kicked off like a rock concert.
Moms, grandmas and school kids mixed with Nascar fans, headbangers and bikers. Actually, more of a party than a show, this puts Antiques Road Show to shame, substituting Ozzy Osborne’s “Shot in the Dark” for that ridiculous clarinet music. Raffles, drinks, chatter and a sold out crowd ruled the day here at the Basie for the Pawn Stars road show.
Dennis and Judy from 101.5FM kicked things off with Judy throwing out GILF jokes (she’s a grandma) and Dennis asking if anyone had cool stuff for the guys tonight, like Obama’s real birth certificate. The principal players were introduced like something straight out of the WWF as they each came down separate isles. Yeah, it’s hokey but the crowd ate it up as Irish marching music filled the theatre. Corey and Chumlee came sauntering out to idol-sized cheers. But the big boss himself, Daddy Rick came out to AC/DC’s “Back In Black,” which, like Chumlee’s page boy hairdo, was slightly overbearing.
The show was cut up with video interviews from all the players talking about each other’s character traits, high points and funny bloopers from the show. They also spent time talking about their best deals such as American Indian photographs, which cost $50 and whose negatives were in the Smithsonian (they sold for $20,000). Other stories came from Chumlee, who said the best deal he made was when Dominos was 30 minutes late. Also Chumlee’s worst deal was a stand up bass that he paid too much for and then broke and hid in a container. So he pawned it for $150.00 and it cost them $7,000 to fix. As Rick quipped, “It’s not an exact science when dealing with Chumlee.”
More video including mega sessions of bleeping and Bat Mobile hijinks had this rock and roll crowd getting loud. The crew proceeded to value everything from a Martin guitar to a World War I helmet. The girlfriend of the man who owned the helmet wanted to give Chumlee a hug. Rick shook his head and said, “You know there is a problem in this world when this guy’s a sex symbol.” Once again the Count Basie gambles on an interesting show and wins. For more info on The Count Basie Theatre and the surprises for this summer, head over to countbasietheatre.org.