Words by: Herschel Concepcion | Images by: Howard Kaplan
Derek Trucks Band & Lubriphonic :: 09.06.08 :: Vic Theatre :: Chicago, IL
With a delightful combination of American blues, jazz and world music, the Derek Trucks Band is redefining it all in an era where it seems like everything's already been done. Defined by Derek Trucks's raunchy, rippin' slide guitar, the band's sound taps into the realm of the mystical, but they can also keep you grounded, taking you high into the heavens before releasing you to float back down to earth. A Derek Trucks Band show is a journey, to say the least, and the Windy City was ready for the ride
Chicago is a blues city, and will always welcome an accomplished slide player with open arms – and Derek Trucks is no exception. Having made his first appearance onstage with the Allman Brothers at 11-years-old and forming the Derek Trucks Band at 15, this six-string prodigy has risen quickly in the music world to solidify his position in the upper echelon of elite guitarists
The show took place at the Vic Theatre, an old five-story vaudeville house complete with marble staircases and asshole security guards. Originally built in 1912, the Vic boasts good (but not great) acoustics and plenty of standing room, in addition to a number of viewing spots in the upper level balconies – although I don't see why you'd want to watch a show from up there
It was a warm Saturday evening in the city, pleasant and peaceful. Inside the Vic, however, the crowd was getting restless – until Chicago-based funk band Lubriphonic kicked things off with their high energy brand of blues, rock and funk, blended together to create a recipe for booty-shakin' grooves that turned all present into believers in the power of funk. Led by founding members Giles Corey (lead guitar, vocals) and Rick King (drums), Lubriphonic blasted the ears of the audience with a well-balanced mix of originals such as "Soul Solution" and "Say Something Good," as well as covers of classics like Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel" and the Dead's "Turn On Your Lovelight."
With the bass-slapping skills of Joewuan Scott and a powerful horn section consisting of Johnny Cotton (trombone) and Ron Haynes (trumpet), the boys simply demanded respect for their down-home, gritty blues-funk and showed the crowd the meaning of soul. At the end of their set, they were met with thunderous applause and cheering from an audience who, for the most part, had never seen these guys before. Not bad.
|Lubriphonic :: 09.06 :: Chicago|
After a short break it was time for Derek Trucks and company to take the stage. The crowd was rowdy, fueled by booze and a hunger for more music. Anticipation was high, and the boys would not disappoint. Launching into "I'll Find My Way," the song featured a guitar solo at the end that let the crowd know that Trucks wasn't going to be pulling any punches. And it only got hotter from there. "Soul Serenade" was the perfect choice for showcasing the sweet, soulful vocals of Mike Mattison, who then stepped back to let Trucks' guitar do a little singing of its own.
The band followed up with a solid cover of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway," an homage to Derek and the Dominoes' famous version and a treat for the blues aficionados in attendance. But it was not until "My Favorite Things" (yes, from The Sound of Music) that Trucks finally let loose. A full-blown jazz jam, the song had Kofi Burbridge take a break from the keys and get down on the flute. Then, at about the 15-minute mark, Trucks exploded on the guitar, blasting a furious barrage of notes out into the crowd that muffled the sound of 1,000 jaws hitting the floor. It was orgasmic.
After a bluesy "Get Out My Life" that had Burbridge back on keys for an extended funky solo, the band brought Trucks' wife Susan Tedeschi onstage for a few numbers. Her voice booming yet elegant, Tedeschi can belt them out with the best of 'em, and that's exactly what she did, sending the crowd into a roaring frenzy. Tedeschi stuck around to join Mattison on vocals for "Anyday," a Derek and the Dominoes cover and now a staple in the Derek Trucks Band repertoire. Taking turns on the verses, Mattison and Tedeschi's singing was soulful, pure and captivating.
|Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi :: 09.06 :: Chicago|
Not to be outdone, Trucks launched into one of the finest solos I'd ever heard from him. Starting with a low, drawn-out note, he built it up slowly, increasing the energy, speed and intensity until he hit a screaming crescendo that shot out through the crowd like a thousand daggers, piercing into the hearts and souls of every audience member. There was almost a feeling of desperation in his playing, as if he was pleading with you for something but you didn't know exactly what it was. He had tapped into the essence of the blues and the result was a perfect solo that blasted right back into the chorus. It was powerful and moving and one of the finest pieces of guitar work I've ever had the pleasure to witness.
After that impressive display it was time to get things groovin' again. A funky, gospel-tinged "Joyful Noise" had Todd Smallie laying it down heavy on the bass. Tedeschi crooned in that deep, sultry voice, "Ooohh, somebody make that joyful noise," and was met with a cavalcade of hoots and hollers from audience members, who, by now, could see the light and were saved, ready for the second coming. It was a spiritual awakening for some, a drunken good time for others.
The encore was a double whammy. The first, a cover of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Volunteered Slavery," incorporated the sounds of world music and featured the subtle yet provocative percussion work of Count M'Butu, while drummer Yonrico Scott kept a steady beat to serve as a platform for Truck's improvised licks. And "Up Above My Head" was a fitting end to a night of fantastic guitar work, as Trucks' final solo soared high, taking us all to the stratosphere of musical bliss.
Derek Trucks Band :: 09.06.08 :: Vic Theatre :: Chicago, IL
Set I: I'll Find My Way, Leaving Trunk, Soul Serenade, Key To The Highway, My Favorite Things, Down Don't Bother Me, Get Out Of My Life, Done Got Over*, Any Day*, Joyful Noise*
Encore: Volunteered Slavery, Up Above My Head
* w/ Susan Tedeschi-Trucks on vocals
Show available at www.archive.org.
Lubriphonic - Lovelight - 9/6/08
Derek Trucks Band - "I'll Find My Way" - 9/6/08
Derek Trucks Band - "Anyday" - 9/6/08
Derek Trucks Band - "Joyful Noise" - 9/6/08
The Derek Trucks Band's next show is on 10/22 in Easton, MD. Complete tour dates available here.
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