Blues & Lasers/Josh Dion/Foster McGinty - 03.21.2009 @ Sullivan Hall


Sullivan Hall brought in the vernal equinox with a magnificent budding of up and coming blues bands.  There were underlying themes throughout the night other than blues, which included blaring harmonicas and new faces. Foster McGinty’s keyboard player and Josh Dion both toyed with the mouth kazoo The climax of harmonica jams came courtsey of Blues and Lasers, which was the most talented group of the night.

Foster McGinty

I showed up in time to catch Foster McGinty’s set which brought in some very good tunes.  From what I’m told the band was put together last minute backing Foster.  The drummer was reading sheet music as he was playing!  All things considered it was put together very well.  Doran Danoff added layer upon layer of keys which gave some of the songs a “Doorsy” feel.  Foster has a great feel for the guitar and blues lyrics.  You could sense a Hendrix influence in their final song “Can’t Help but Shine.”  The song came together with a great break down at the end behind McGinty’s guitar. Even with the lack of time together, I’d like to catch these guys after they’ve gotten a couple more shows under their belt to really see how well they mesh and jam.

List: Hard Jelly > Circus Mind > Burning Bee Hive > Dreamcatcher > 10 Moons > Darlyn Giver > Can't Help But Shine 

Josh Dion

Josh Dion began his set with the Sullivan Hall about ¾ of the way full. Dion has a very good following in the local New York blues scene.  Dion is a showman who really knows how to keep the crowd bouncing throughout his set.  He has been working with different musicians to come up with the right mix for the next stage of his music career.  Josh played all original songs throughout with the help of energetic Ben Scheuer on a
1966 Fender Telecaster and the toned down Geoff Kraly on a 1976 Gibson Thunderbird.  He began the set with “I Can See Right Though You” which had a great deal of guitar feedback that complimented Dion’s singing and drumming very well. “Three Gig Night” gives you a great feel for how much Dion loves playing in front of a crowd with the beginning verse “Oh how I long for a three gig night.”His song “I Don’t Know the Man” brought the most applause of the night.  Dion always has a fast paced set that gets the audience dancing whom he did not upset with the upbeat “Person to Person” to finish the set.

I Can See Right Through Ya > Hard Love > AM Heroes in an FM World > Three Gig Night > Get Out > I Don't Know the Man > Fire on the Bridge > Won't Turn Back > Person to Person

Blues & Lasers 

It is a damn shame the majority of the patrons left for this incredible blues band.  Working, most frequently, as Grace Potter’s Nocturnal’s, I felt it was an insult to all the musicians.  There should be no need to even try to sell this group.

Scott Tournet ripped through some viscious solos throughout the entire two hour set. I was amazed that the strings of his guitar were able to hold up throughout the night.  Benny Yurco looked ripped out of his mind with blood shot eyes but kept everything in rythmn. He provided, in-tune, precise vocals despite the echoing drum beats and basslines.  The dual drummers of Steve Sharon & Matt Burr never missed a beat with new bassist, John Rogone, during the entire set.  There were no signs of a lack of practice, chemistry, or skill amongst these experienced musicians.  Everybody played with a very laid back free flowing attitude, the way rock n’ roll should be. You wouldn’t tell from hearing but just the fact that the Rogone was facing the two drummers for the majority of the set showed he was still getting a feel for things.  The highlight of band banter was when Yurco exclaimed, “I’m getting fucking electrocuted up here” to which Tournet stated “which means you’re seeing a good fucking rock ‘n roll show!” There was nothing false about that statement.  These guys dealt with this obstruction in stride by charging into another song. 

This band played with ease throughout the entire set.  They had a sound that related to what I’ve heard from the Black Keys but with a more massive sound accounting for the dual drummers, bassist and rythmn guitar.  They came out for their encore all in sunglasses except Yurco who needed to borrow a pair from someone in the audience.  This lead to an amazing cover of ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses.” Blues & Lasers finished up the set with Neil Young’s “Fuckin’ Up” which concluded the blues theme quite fittingly.  My only criticism for this show was that they were deafeningly loud, which is more of an explanation of their immense sound and the lack of applicable acoustics from the Sullivan Hall.  Maybe this was due to them outblasting the repetitive talentless dance music that was playing in the adjacent club.  I’d really love to see them in a larger venue with superb acoustics to get the full effect of their amazing sound.

Give It A Try > Fallen Friend > Take U Down > 22 Times > W.N.W.G.D. > Who Do You Think You Are? > Forgot About Me# > Othermen > After All > Devil's Wrapped Around Me > Better U Use Me > Homefunk# > I Ain't Changin'# > Rooster > Encore:
Cheap Sunglasses (ZZ Top Cover) > Somewhere Down The Road# > Fuckin' Up (Neil Young Cover) 

# Scott Tournet on Fender Telecaster

The rest of the songs were done with a Gibson SG

This was an amazing night of blues music.  To me there has been a lull in quality rock n’ roll bands out there, but witnessing these three up and coming bands essential for lighting up my confidence that rock n’ roll will never die.  If any of you have a chance to catch any of these three bands in person you will leave happy that you spent the $10 for somethings that will never show up on a record.

Fri 4/3/2009 4:00 PM