Words by: Martin Halo | Images by: Rod Snyder
Marc Ford :: 09.29.07 :: Mexicali Blues Cafe :: Teaneck, NJ
With tacos floating on a half shell and the cheap stench of a joint in the car, the squashed faithful who packed themselves into Mexicali Blues bounced off the walls like fireflies caught in a jar. There were still so many questions left unanswered, which ramped up the speculation floating throughout the air as the Black Crowes kicked off their fall tour of the greater Northwest the night before, while the man who transformed the Crowes from mere mortals to undisputed rock gods had disembarked, carrying his own gear into the deepest pits of New Jersey.
| Marc Ford :: 09.29|
From inside the venue a beam of sun rushed in the open door. Once our eyes adjusted, we saw a van with California plates and a very soft-spoken Marc Ford, ready to offer us a snarling, ramshackle performance.
Traveling south on an East Coast tour leg, which concluded in Fairborn, Georgia on October 14, Ford sat onstage re-calibrating the tonal beauty of his guitars as his aviator shades found a safe home tucked under his collar. Ford's departure has been a focal point of attention since late summer of 2006 when he went his own way after a lackluster summer shed tour. Though nobody knows the exact reasons for the split, what was blatantly evident was Ford's scorched tonal ferocity and reckless endangerment securely tucked under his sleeve.
Supporting his sophomore solo album, Weary and Wired (released March 2007 on Shrapnel Records), Ford was backed by son Elijah Ford (guitars), Muddy Dutton (bass) and Dennis Morehouse (drums). Starting the set around 11 p.m. the growling moan of duly picked notes, rising to meet each other, set the tone for an evening of sleaze driven guitar licks. With an American Spirit dangling from his lips, the set opened with an extended jam surrounding "Greazy Chicken," which led into the boogie shake of "Don't Come Around."
| Marc Ford :: 09.29|
A short guitar section followed "Dirty Girl," which featured a lick so filthy it could be the bastard child of Jeff Beck's Truth. Ford's vocals have turned rough and notably reminiscent of The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach's signature exhale. Ford transformed the Jersey venue into a Southern fish fry. Additional selections included "Shame on Me," "Smoke Signals," "1000 Ways," a blistering, rockabilly inspired "Bye, Bye, Sally" and "The Other Side."
Leaning into feedback rich solos, Ford pitched his neck, curled his lip and closed his eyes as he proceeded to pick, roll and smoke the entire set. "Currents" was a soulful transition between full-fledged barroom brawl and sweet southern seduction. "Just Take the Money" followed with Ford reaching into his pocket to snatch his dark colored, knuckle-long, glass slide. What followed blew the roof off the small café as Ford's foot caressed his Cry Baby wah pedal, transferring treble and bass in a swirling dust wind sonic blowout.
The performance featured two sets, clocking in at about 90 minutes each. This showcase was the quintessential barroom set. Though the songs were not part of any multi-platinum selling catalog, the show was long, it dazzled and when it was over all one desired was a warm, cozy bed to pass out in.
JamBase | Garden State
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