Tag Archives: Jimi Hendrix Experience

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Ron Gallo and Naked Giants Blur Lines at Rough Trade NYC

November 20th, 2017

Ron Gallo – Rough Trade NYC – November 19, 2017


Sometimes it’s best to start with the end and work your way back to the beginning. Such is the case with the show at Rough Trade NYC last night, which closed in burn-the-house-down fashion, Ron Gallo and his band joined by opening band Naked Giants, two power trios banging around onstage, at least half of the six musicians having removed their shirts, the sweat a couple of hours of no-garage-can-contain-this rock and rolling. The Naked Giants guys had already been onstage for three songs to close out the set, at one point joined by Dr. Dog’s Eric Slick as well, playing both sides of their split 7″ single and culminating in a frenzied cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.” Apparently they’ve been performing it together all along their tour, but when they played it in Brooklyn last night, it not only was an appropriate show closer, but also unwittingly, and perhaps unintentionally ironically, marked the passing of Charles Manson.

The packed house had been bouncing and percolating to both bands all night, but by this point, the energy from front to back was combustible, bodies slamming into one another and carelessly bounding up and down. Whatever the opposite of “quiet Sunday evening at home” is, this was it. The preceding set from Gallo and his trio had been an exercise in blurred boundaries, playing songs from their appropriately titled Heavy Meta record. The demarcation between headliner and opener seemed fluid, at one point midway through, after singing a song apparently about two headlining bands, the Naked Giants guys came on and swapped instruments, allowing Gallo and his group to hop into the audience to rock out with the crowd. Indeed the fourth wall between the performers and audience was as equally dynamic throughout, Gallo not only coming down off the stage on multiple occasions, but also chatting and bantering with folks in the audience, and the musicians mimicking the propulsive dancing of the crowd. At one point Gallo was able to merge all of the audience requests into one surreal medley, blowing into his trumpet and then threading together a few seconds of an unintelligible “Free Bird” with “Fight for Your Right to Party” and, of all things, “One of Us.”

The boundary between rock and roll show and performance art also disappeared, stretching back to the opening moments of Gallo’s set, when he played a little trumpet and then read a prepared introduction statement from a piece of paper seemingly channeling Christopher Walken. At other points, Gallo played his guitar with and on a skateboard. But for all the shenanigans, his set was a rage of rock and roll, channeling the great trios like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream along the way. With Joe Bisirri on bass and Dylan Sevey on drums, the three-piece was greater than the sum of their parts, breathing fire into the material from the beginning. And as we continue to work our way backward through the night, we once again find Seattle’s Naked Giants. Seen from the end, their set was a bit of foreshadowing—their intense and thoughtful guitar-bass-drum rock a perfect tee up for the night. Their songs seemed to have a mind of their own, losing themselves in the middle to stray here or there in is-this-another-song fashion before hitting the head and drawing to a close. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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The London Souls Captivate in Their Tour Opener

January 9th, 2013

The London Souls – The Bowery Ballroom – January 8, 2013


The Jimi Hendrix comparisons are inevitable for Tash Neal, the lead guitarist and singer of the London Souls. It’s by far the easiest way to categorize him, not just because he’s a black guitarist who shreds, but because it seems like everything he emits provides more similarities. His band is a trio with a floppy-haired drummer and he’s groomed an epic ’fro—plus he even wears those hipster earmuffs that have become fashionable around Williamsburg, which could easily be mistaken for one of Hendrix’s bandannas. Superficially, Tash is channeling Jimi’s ghost.

But hearing the London Souls last night at The Bowery Ballroom shattered any notion in my mind that the London Souls are a just an updated Jimi Hendrix Experience. Neal’s guitar playing owes more to Duane Allman’s country blues than Hendrix’s psychedelia. He has more discipline than did Hendrix, keeping his solos tight and purely in support of his songs. And his stage persona allows for far more fun than Hendrix’s atomic focus ever did. Maybe this last point is a function of his surviving a near-fatal car accident last year, when his cab was struck by drag racers. “For everyone who’s sent a positive thought my way,” Tash remarked last night, “I just wanna say thanks. I’m still around. It’s fine.”

The London Souls played last night’s show as if it could have been their last. They must have burned through their entire catalog during their two-hour set, including “Steady Are You Ready,” “She’s So Mad” and “Old Country Road,” and the band also busted out AC/DC and David Bowie covers. Neal melted faces throughout, but the high point must have been the extended solo on “Someday,” the reggae-tinged cover that, at its midpoint, takes a turn for the heavy. Neal subdued the toxic amount of distortion from his amp and captivated the crowd as his fingers danced across the fret board. Yes, Tash Neal and the London Souls are still around. It’s quite fine. —Alex Kapelman

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com