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There is something to be said for the stylistic integrity of Gary Clark Jr. Undeniably, the man is a monster: his debut full-length, Blak and Blu, contains riffs that are lumbering and dangerous, chord progressions that are confrontationally laid back, and vocal intensity that is enviable. On the stage, his unerring songcraft was impeccable. Playing to an excited and sold out crowd at Royale, Clark gave his best blues-beast yowls as he played his guitar with such lonesome fury it was impossible to take your eyes off of his fingertips. [Editor’s note – we’re totally jealous of his kick-ass Epiphone Casino hollowbody]
Songs like “When My Train Pulls In” and “Don’t Owe You A Thang” were delivered with terrifying precision, while his infamous, wasted-night rhapsody “Bright Lights” was met with thunderous applause and lines like “You gonna know my name by the end of the night” were hollered in brusque, boyish bellows. Even though Blak and Blu has the timelessness and crisp tunage of a straight-up blues record, tinges of R&B unexpectedly reared their collective heads.
On the album’s standout track, “You Saved Me,” we were treated to a big-lunged manifesto of a loyal lover backed by a soulful beat and outlined by spidery guitar. Live, it’s even more luscious and desirable than on record – Clark took his time making sure his guitar work maintained its elegance and drama. Those are two words that can best describe most of Clark’s music, which makes for the most eager and insatiable fans. Quite frankly, we love anticipating his next musical move.