Eric Gales Stirs Emotions At 5 Points Music Sanctuary
Having seen Eric Gales countless times on social media (usually shredding the guitar to “Voodoo Child,” the Jimi Hendrix Classic) when I saw he was playing at my favorite venue Five Points Music Sanctuary in Roanoke, Virginia, I had to make the trek back down to the Church Of Music. I didn’t know what to expect from the show but I knew that there was going to be a lot of guitar prowess onstage and that was perfect for me.
Mark Nicholson and The Distance opened up the show and I was impressed by the vocals from Mark and his blues-guitar work. His voice reminding me of Robert Plant crossed with Peter Green. The Distance was the perfect band to open up for Eric Gales. Tyler Godsey, did a great job orchestrating this event for 5 Points. I see Mark Nicholson and The Distance, as one of the best local acts I have come across. They could easily take it to the next level and tour; gaining followers who like Marks vocal styles and bluesy guitar tones. Mark, if you ever need another member, I am here! It felt great to get back to 5 Points, which has been growing exponentially and almost looks like a new venue from the inside. If you haven’t seen a show in this venue, I implore you to make the trip down to Roanoke just to see this Church Of Music.
Eric Gales came onto the stage with so much excitement; the crowd was bristling with energy. I was pumped to see what would happen when he was actually playing music. Addressing the crowd and telling his story: reliving hard times, addiction and the sacrifice of music, Eric made everyone feel at home. This is where the shreds began to happen and between the limited vocals and instrumental parts, there were long solo segments that showcased Eric Gales unique left-handed guitar style. It’s hard to describe Eric’s guitar playing, it’s somewhere between Eric Johnson and Jimi Hendrix: raw and visceral, while still being light and twangy. In the video below you can witness the sheer energy and adrenaline that is rushing through Eric Gales as he plays like his life depends on it. Mr. Gales is no slouch on the vocals either. His voice is as juxtaposed as his guitar work; rough and scratchy while still being light and soulful. Eric Gales is one of a kind and there is no getting around that. While Eric Gales is technically skillful on his guitar, his true talent lies in his energetic and infectious energy. I have rarely seen guitar players play with such vigor and excitement on stage. He would even shed a few tears during the show, recollecting his past experiences. I will see Eric Gales again and while he only played about five songs, I think I have a great grasp of what Eric Gales can do on the guitar. The video that I shared on Twitter received over 3000 views in under a week. Thanks to Eric Gales and 5 Points Music Sanctuary for making this a great valentines experience happen.
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BIG NEWS! I was recently contacted by phantasytour.com (If you don’t know about this site then check it out! I have been using it for years to log shows and even keep up with set-lists for my reviews) they are releasing sets of collectable trading cards. I am happy to be working with phantasytour.com and think this is one of the coolest collectables I have seen come out in sometime, and I will most likely, be doing a give away on a deck of these trading cards, which include:
“In the inaugural set, collectors will find cards featuring STS9, Leftover Salmon, The Disco Biscuits, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Tropidelic, TAUK, Goose, Bumpin Uglies and The Jauntee. Each pack of Series One Phantasy Tour Trading Cards contains 9 randomly sorted collectible cards featuring a musician or entire band. There are a total of 50 unique cards in the series. There is also a checklist card in every pack.”
Packs of Phantasy Cards can be purchased directly from the bands in the series at their upcoming shows or in their online stores. Here is a list of confirmed dates and locations at which cards will be available:
2/26/20 Tropidelic at The Orpheum Theatre, Flagstaff, AZ
2/26/20 Bumpin Uglies at The Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh, NC
2/28/20 The Jauntee at Old Town Pub, Steamboat Springs, CO
2/29/20 Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at 10 Mile Music Hall, Frisco, CO
3/5/20 Goose at The Agora in Cleveland, OH
3/6/20 Leftover Salmon at Crystal Bay Casino, Crystal Bay, NV
3/12/20 The Disco Biscuits at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA
3/13/20 TAUK at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
Online pre-orders are also being accepted at Phantasy Tour’s Merch Store found at https://merch.phantasytour.com. Online orders will begin shipping March 16.
Work has begun on compiling the next series of Phantasy Cards. Fans can vote for the bands they are most interested in seeing in a future series by visiting https://phantasy.cards/vote.
LOOK FOR AN UPCOMING GIVEAWAY ON ALL JAMBANDPURIST SOCIAL MEDIAS. Thank you!
Andy Frasco and the U.N. vs Big Something (RVA Royal Rumble)
I once hailed, Andy Frasco and his wild onstage performances as, “the closest thing to the WWE in the music world.” Last night, these visions came true. Included in this augmented reality were the heavy hitting, Big Something, who have amassed quite a following over the past few years. While Andy is my clear favorite, I wasn’t sure what the night had in store or if he could keep the run of outstanding performances going. Never short on energy, Frasco comes alive onstage, transforming into a beast, a creature of music. His base instincts kick in: party, rage, drink, and fight. It’s the heady mixture, the musical brew; the alchemical reaction we all have when it’s time to party. No need to review the songs just one will do, “Blame It On The Pussy” was played and I’m glad to see it’s still alive and well. It was certainly the crowd favorite of the night. I totally caught a few people, who will remain nameless, in the bathroom making exuberant amounts of sniffing sounds... cold and flu season is going around. Nonetheless, everyone was having a blast in RVA.
Big Something aren’t always my favorite band, not because of their obvious talent but some of their songs don’t connect with me due to their almost, Alt-Rock nature. This show however completely shattered all my expectations of what BS can bring to the stage. While I’d love to see them take more chances and improv more, they still brought The Broadberry down. I am very impressed with the growth from guitarist, Jessie Hensley and the rhythm section in general. They seem to have grown exponentially as musicians. I am sure I will be seeing this band again on summer tour.
At the end of the performance, both bands would join the stage together in a massive throw down that would see wrestling moves, erroneous dancing and even, a pole climbing competition. I think that’s about the only thing that pole is good for. Both bands would play Peter Gabriel’s, “Sledgehammer” and The Talking Head’s seminal classic, “Psycho Killer,” all wearing Luchador masks and jumping on top of one another. Oh, and I must touch on Kyle Ayers who was the referee and opening comedian. I certainly was not expecting to hear comedy that evening and honestly, didn’t pay attention. I guess my headspace was not ready for this combination. After reviewing some of the other videos and shows, I have come to the conclusion that, Kyle, did a great job opening up the audience and his birthday roast of “Sweet Dick” Andy Frasco was hilarious. I want to commend everyone involved for taking chances and trying something different.
These two bands are very important to the up-and-coming Jam scene that we have all have been cultivating for the past few decades. Things have been changing but what remains the same is the love for music and new ways in which bands carry us forward. Improvisation, long solos and collaborations are what make this world turn but stage presence and energy are just as important. Bands like BS And Andy Frasco and The U.N. are the reason that I am still going to shows and covering live music. Both bands keep this scene alive and we have to support them in anyway possible. Go see live music, support the music you love and tell everyone you know. Better yet, take a friend to a show and you change their lives. It truly changed mine.
(Turkuaz Evolves In Charlottesville Virginia)
There is not much to say about this amazing performance from Turkuaz here in Virginia. After returning from Jam Cruise, I was completely enthralled with Turkuaz and was delving deep into their catalogue, pulling out gem after gem. Their shows are always high-energy, full of extreme Jams and improvisation. I can’t help but lose my mind and dance all night to their music.
As I said in my previous review, Turkuaz could be the chosen one; the band to rule them all. The band that could transcend this musical scene and become “popular.” If you ask me what band could go totally mainstream, it’s Turkuaz. Or they could morph into a super-futuristic-funk-robot and destroy us all! Turkuaz is the only band that can make every single person I know dance. No matter what your musical tastes may be, you will find yourself dancing to their infectious grooves. Oh yes the tired cliché, “infectious” but it is, it’s like a dance virus, a parasite of the hips. When Shira and Sammi, are synchronized you are completely transfixed, hypnotized and must comply in full to dance.
I could go through, song for song, telling you how pandemic, “Murder Face” was or, how, “Babies Making Babies” probably impregnated the whole audience but instead I implore each of you to listen to Turkuaz for yourself. I witnessed the crowd raptured in funk, mesmerized in Jam and spellbound in Electo and you too can join the cult of UAZ.
Jam Band Purist
Jam Cruise 18: (Jamais Vu On The High Seas)
Déjà Vu is the feeling that one has lived through the present situation before while Jamais Vu is the complete opposite. Boarding this year’s Jam Cruise on the MSC Divina, I had the strangest feeling of jamais vu: “Jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer's impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that they have been in the situation before.” This feeling would remain intertwined in my thoughts throughout the entire Jam Cruise experience, crystallizing into some strange emblematic dream. It is indeed a New Year, a New Decade and there is a lot to be grateful for. Climbing aboard Jam Cruise is like entering a world all its own. A world with an expiration date of only 5 days but these days transmogrify into a lifetime of experience. Swirling musical energy surrounds this vessel and the constant capitulation and undulation of the vast sea becomes atoned to the rhythm of our bodies. While this is only my second year, it’s as though I’ve been doing this my entire life. The people, all familiar, the bands, I’ve been seeing for over 15 years are just eating at the same buffet as me. Seeing the same shows and having a similar experiences. This relationship is transcending, changing what it means to be a fan, and bridging the gap between artist and audience.
Over the years I’ve been known to get caught-up in the glamour of stardom. Seeing these people as more than they are. Idolizing a life that is completely devoid of normality. After going on Jam Cruise these past two years, I have seen and talked to more musicians than I have in my entire life. Just seeing Ivan Neville walking around everywhere puts things into perspective. Or running into Samantha Fish while she is getting breakfast or, talking with the guys from Galactic on the pool deck. These little day-to-day activities really opens ones eyes to the reality of their musical lifestyle. The truth is these musicians are just like you and me but with a heck of a lot of talent and lots of drive! It’s hard to sit-down and write this out, seeing 5 days of music, everything gets convoluted in my head. I won’t waste too much of your time but I will go into my favorite shows of Jam Cruise 18 and share some of my thoughts.
Life Aboard The MSC Divina:
Boarding the boat itself is always an adventure and having a new boat, the MSC Divina (new to me) was like starting all over again. The Divina is a much bigger boat but traversing those narrow hallways at 5 AM, sliding and hitting the walls like bumper cars, takes some getting used too. It’s almost like you have to take two steps to either side with the motion of the ship to stay balanced. While last years experience aboard the Norwegian Jade was all around a more luxurious experience, better ship, nicer crew, food and amenities were better, but it really doesn’t matter because it’s Fucking Jam Cruise. Where else can you do this crazy shit? The only real issue I have with the MSC is the disembarkation time of 7 am. Ughh what the fuck! Are you out of your minds!
Best Sets On The Ship:
The Lennon Claypool Delirium Pool Deck set was one of the best shows I’ve seen on planet earth not even just on Jam Cruise. This neo-psychedelic amalgamation blew my mind. I was familiar with their catalogue of music but not ready for such a raw, visceral performance with absurdities to boot. Lennon and Claypool really brought out the weird for the first day and I hope to see them again soon.
Every Turkuaz show I’ve ever seen on the boat has been phenomenal; I even skipped out on half of moe.’s Atrium set to check out one of the most hype version of “Flashlight.” Listen, don’t sleep on Turkuaz they may be able to make it the next level of the music industry. Turkuaz could transcend the Jam world and go mainstream or become something we weren’t prepared for morphing into a super-futuristic-funk-robot and destroy us all!
The Marcus King Super Jam was filled with classic Disco and Motown songs. The lineup included but was not limited to: Nigel Hall, Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, Robert “Sput” Searight, Luther Dickinson, Eric Bloom, Roosevelt Collier, Nicki Bluhm, Danny Mayer, members of Turkauz, Karina Rykman and that basically says it all. Marcus seems ready to transcend the Jam world but in a different way, taking Nashville by storm and even getting his own billboard in “Music City.” That’s one way to make an entrance ol’ boy. We will try to keep the lights on for you. Don’t stray too far from home.
Moe. in the Theatre and the Atrium both were exactly what Jam Cruise is all about, true headliners having fun with the audience and melting faces. Chuck and Al both duel shredding guitar solos on the backs of sofas. It was great to get back on the couch with moe. having only seen them a few times in past few years. They were one of the first bands to really turn me onto the scene and their songs play in that special place in my heart. I would love to see moe. return to Jam Cruise next year and finish what they started.
Galactic always puts on a strong performance and this years was no different but what was different was the female performer who is still learning her place onstage. I was surprised to not see Erica Falls onstage but welcome the new comer. I was really impressed with Circles Around The Sun, who put on a hard, yet effervescent performance. Their sound is difficult to explain but its somewhere between the Grateful Dead and funky psychedelia. With the addition of Eric Krasno, CTS set was really transcending. I had heard about these guys with Neil Casal but never had the chance to see them. This was a great way to honor Neil and Jam to their music, I cant wait to see them again soon in Charlottesville, Virginia at The Southern. I wish that Karl Denson would come around my area more often because his shows are always high-energy and I need more of him in my life. Lettuce really impressed me with their Pool Deck set, which seems more original Funk than Dub. This may have been the best Lettuce show I’ve ever seen and their theatre set didn’t seem to compare.
Samantha Fish basically blew me out of my sandals. She is something else and can shred on the guitar which, I got to tell her to her face. She graciously accepted my compliment and gave me a little wink. This would be my first time seeing Samantha Fish and I wasn’t sure her live shows could match her videos but she is even better in person. I really enjoy the cigar box sound and respect her six-string skills immensely. Joe Marcinek was also another performer I wanted to touch on, supporting his own All Star cast of players. This was also my first time catching Joe and his guitar work is truly unmatched; very harmonic and instinctive.
Lastly I want to touch on my friend Marcus Rezak who sat in with Maddy O’Neil and was a great guest on the boat. Marcus is a fantastic player and adds so much to every performance. Check out his other groups like Shred Is Dead and various projects where he works with members of Frank Zappa’s band. Let’s get him and “Sweet Dick” Andy Frasco back on the boat next year for Jam Cruise 20!
No matter how many times I write it, Jam Cruise is the experience of a lifetime! I implore each and everyone to come with me on the most amazing musical adventure! I know many of you say you can’t afford it but if you just skip those local shows, skip those trips to bars, save those pennies, you can make if work and it is well worth it. I can’t imagine not returning next year and reliving this adventure. I hope to see you all there.
Jam Cruise Purist
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.