Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr.

The Wild Feathers, Max Frost

Sat, November 16, 2013

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Terminal 5

New York, NY

$29.50 advance / $30 day of show

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Gary Clark Jr.
Gary Clark Jr.
Ever since 2010, when Gary Clark Jr. wowed audiences with electrifying live sets everywhere from the Crossroads Festival to Hollywood’s historic Hotel Café, his modus operandi has remained crystal clear: “I listen to everything…so I want to play everything.” The revelation that is the Austin-born virtuoso guitarist, vocalist and songwriter finds him just as much an amalgamation of his myriad influences and inspirations. Anyone who gravitated towards Clark’s, 2011’s Bright Lights EP, heard both the evolution of rock and roll and a savior of blues. The following year’s full-length debut, Blak And Blu, illuminated Clark’s vast spectrum - “Please Come Home” is reminiscent of Smokey Robinson, while “Ain’t Messin’ Around” recalls Sly and the Family Stone. 2014’s double disc Gary Clark Jr–Live projected Clark into 3D by adding palpable dimension and transcendent power –– songs soared and drifted from the epic, psychedelic-blues of “When My Train Comes In” to his anthemic, hip-hop, rock-crunch calling card, “Bright Lights”, all the way down to the deep, dark, muddy water of “When The Sun Goes Down”.

There are a handful of folks who have informed for the mélange of genres and styles, which comprise the genius of Clark. One is Michael Jackson. It was on Denver stop of MJ’s Bad Tour where a four-year-old Gary’s life was altered after witnessing The King of Pop. By the sixth grade, Clark would own his first set of strings (Ibanez RX20).

As a teen, Clark began making a local name by jamming with adult musicians around nearby clubs. He struck a balance by singing in the church choir with his sisters. That gritty & sweet combination imbues the honey-thick soul that oozes from his vocals today. The eclectic Texas circuit, though, was Clark greatest university, where another culprit in the GCJ genesis lives: Clifford Antone, ambassador of the Austin music scene. Antone’s nightclub granted Clark the honor of sharing the stage with local blues heroes like Jimmie Vaughn, Hubert Sumlin Jr, and Pinetop Perkins. This on-the-job training, combined with studying licks by literal Kings like BB, Albert and Freddie, observing the mastery of Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis, Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Parliament-Funkadelic, and digesting the fresh edge of Tupac and Biggie, lifted the guitar prodigy up into a multi-instrumentalist, adept scribe, and undisputed music festival champ.

Now, after spending the last five years transforming audiences from the California desert to the London metropolis, acquiring fans like Barack Obama, Keith Richards, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé along the way, the 6’4 Texan needs to spread his musical wings and spectrum hues wider. This exhibition will be Clark’s second full-length worldwide album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim due from Warner Bros. Records on September 11th. The title’s inspiration is one half Clark’s Southern roots––those singers and local musicians who saw the future in this young man ––and other half, his acting debut in John Sayles’ 2007 film Honeydripper. A 23-year-old Clark played the fictitious Sonny, (in fact, already his family-given nick-name), a young musician who transformed the blues and R&B into rock and roll. On his latest, Clark isn’t trying to reinvent any wheel. He’d rather deploy as many wheels as possible in order to lead music fans toward his favorite destinations.

“The Healing” mashes blues and hip-hop into the 21st century with a Marleyesque message of hope and faith. This journey of the soul hits Mississippi on the Delta jam of “Shake,” before pulling into the spiritual station of “Church,” serving gospel made with the purist folk elements: hypnotic strum, sweet harmonica, and aloud prayers as painful as they are beautiful (dare we say, Dylan-esque). “Grinder” makes musical graffiti out of fierce, freeform wah-wah screaming that spars with rap-tough urban tension. The code is completed once Clark’s chordophone wails a salute to all guitar gods.

What this body of work accomplishes that its predecessors hadn’t is spotlight Gary Clark Jr., the artist first -- as producer, singer-songwriter -- and string master second. His textured voice and eyes-wide writing hug listeners in with a disregard for time period other than the future. The reassuring “Our Love” could’ve easily been a standard in any decade past or present; “Down To Ride”, an avant-garde, soul love letter with its sensual falsetto, classic Casio synths, and outer-space guitar fade, fits into fresh unexplored sonic territories. The trippy flight “Wings” is Clark’s most modern flip as the Outkast fan is heard in his lyrical prime: “We got issues and people get misused/and girl I miss you/but I know that we’ll get through what we go through.”

Sterling songwriting is where Mr. Clark’s evolution is arrayed best. Never has his pen’s moonshine been so in tune with the times. The Lone Star diamond gleams brightest when he’s sketching then voicing his country’s current and evergreen socio-economic tensions simultaneously. When he’s progressing the art of blues by replacing hopeless conclusion with empathy and strength. When he’s reintroducing and redefining red, white, and blue music. “Hold On,” impressively captures the struggle of being African-American in any era by stirring a pungent punch of Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron and Buddy Guy influence over some serious (and visual) commentary. “Seems like new news is the old news from a different angle/another mother on TV crying cause her boy didn’t make it/She said, What am I gon’ do? What I’m gon’ tell these babies?”

A 2015 reply is offered on the all-consuming space-age funk of “Star.” “I am devoted to seeing you shine on,” could be a message in falsetto from Clark to those babies, his country, his family, and his innermost self. With a musical palette as gracious and glorious as Gary Clark Jr’s, the target is most likely all of the above. As Clark put his mojo in full motion on the album’s opening track, “The Healing”, he eloquently states his subtle and underlying theme that “this music” is our hope, faith and ultimate healing.
The Wild Feathers
The Wild Feathers
All signs point to The Wild Feathers becoming the next great American rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s not a matter of omens or conjecture either, but rather time and facts. The Nashville-based group— Ricky Young [guitar, vocals], Taylor Burns [guitar, vocals], Joel King [bass, vocals], and Ben Dumas [drums]—spent more than two years on the road supporting their 2013 debut self-titled full-length album. Their diligence slowly but surely started to pay off as the record hit #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, and they received invites to appear on Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O Brien, Seth Meyers, Craig Ferguson, ABC’s Nashville, and more.

Along the way, unanimous critical praise arrived courtesy of Rolling Stone, New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, and countless others. Simultaneously, the quintet turned casual listeners into staunch believers with incendiary and invigorating performances at festivals and touring with everybody from Bob Dylan to Gary Clark Jr. Throughout this whirlwind, they kept thinking about the next evolution and started writing songs for what would become their 2016 sophomore effort, Lonely Is A Lifetime

“The story of this album starts with all of the touring we did,” Ricky remarks. “We progressed as a live band. When we wrote our first record, we knew what we liked, but we didn’t really know who we were yet. The more we toured and grew into ourselves, the more we started to naturally move towards what we are today—as individuals and musicians. After playing the same songs every night, you eventually start leaning towards other things. We wrote music that we wanted to play.”

“We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band who can play all different kinds of things,” adds Taylor. “We made a conscious effort to expand our sound. We went into the writing mode on the same page. We wanted to preserve the essence of The Wild Feathers with the multiple harmonies, but we also wanted to take this step forward and experiment.”

As a result, Lonely Is a Lifetime reflects a richer confluence of influences, while maintaining their signature soul and spirit and a nod to all that time on the road together. Following the first album’s marathon of touring, the band retreated to a cabin in Muscle Shoals, AL. It was there they collectively sifted through the myriad ideas accrued on the road. Their three singular voices began to shine within the new material, giving a platform to their respective identities as both singers and writers.

“When I first hooked up with these guys, I was very competitive,” admits Taylor. “I realized they can elevate my songs to a higher place than I can by myself. We all feel the same way. We’re working towards a common goal now—to put out the best album possible. When you’ve got three songwriters, everyone has to earn three seals of approval. That pushes you.”

They then traded Muscle Shoals for Barcelona, welcoming another spirit of inspiration on the other side of the world. Ben adds, “This record definitely has traces of everywhere we’ve been and everything we’ve experienced in the past couple of years, and that’s what makes it special.”

They took the songs back to Nashville and once again tapped the talents of producer Jay Joyce, who has done everything from Cage the Elephant to Wallflowers and Coheed and Cambria, as well as bringing on Dave Sardy (Oasis, Band Of Horses, Death From Above 1979) to shake it up in the mix.

Recorded in a little over a month’s time, the first single “Overnight” most clearly illuminates the aforementioned evolution tempering lush guitars with infectious choruses. Meanwhile, they struck a balance between ethereal ambiance on “Sleepers” and the epic surge of the eight-minute “Goodbye Song”—which Taylor describes as, “his favorite moment in the studio.” Between the rustle of guitars and a heavenly lyrical lead, it’s emblematic of The Wild Feathers’ progression.

About “Goodbye Song,” Ricky says, “I’d been messing around with that melody and hook for a long time. It finally clicked. The story of the song is that of an addict. He could be addicted to drugs or alcohol, but he’s basically saying, ‘I am who I am. Take it or leave it.’ It’s the moment of giving up. We unabashedly embraced the Pink Floyd vibe. We didn’t want to rip it off; we just wanted to apply it.”

“Don’t Ask Me to Change,” culminates on a smoky and soulful refrain that’s instantly unshakable. Meanwhile, they collectively penned the impassioned psychedelic chant of “Into the Sun” where bright harmonies collide with hypnotic instrumentation. The upbeat melodic bliss of “On My Way” marks the first time all five members wrote on the same song, while the album’s conclusion “Hallelujah” finds grace in airy production and emotional delivery from Taylor.

The album’s title encapsulates the group’s reverence for their heroes. On the anniversary of Gram Parsons’ birthday, the boys were working on music in Los Angeles. Given the proximity to Joshua Tree, they made a pilgrimage to The Joshua Tree Hotel where the legend died. They stayed in his final hotel room and wrote “Lonely is a Lifetime.” It’s a nod to their foundation.

“We were on a huge Gram Parsons kick, and we had to book the room,” says Joel. “We went out there just for the experience. It ended up being a magical thing because we wrote this song in 45 minutes. It was inspiring.”

In the end, The Wild Feathers deliver a statement with the eleven songs on Lonely Is A Lifetime. They’ve grown as men and musicians, and they’re ready to claim their spot in the canon of American rock music.
Max Frost
Max Frost
It began as an experiment.

Music had always been the focus of my short, 17­year­old, guitar­playing life in Austin, Texas. I was obsessed with The Beatles, Hendrix, Sinatra, and Sam Cooke. The Blues were my foundation. I hung with a crowd of young musicians who shared my love of the classics. We listened to vinyl. We played in bands.

My safe, little vintage­rock world was turned on its head when underground hip­hop came knocking at my door. Rappers wanted me to sing hooks on their songs. I never in a million years thought what I did made sense in hip­hop. Eminem and Outkast had blown my mind as a kid, but it was still an alien world to me.

As uncomfortable as it was, I jumped in. At first, my bluesy singing made the hooks come across as a sort of “blue-eyed soul” thing. I didn’t identify with that. The hooks I loved most had been sampled from old records. They contrasted the beat in a cool way. They felt distorted and fuzzy and their juxtaposition with modern music had an accidental magic.

The experiment was to see if I could convince people that my hook was a sample. I sang more laid back, more like a crooner than a hard­attacking soul singer. I distorted my voice with guitar amps and heavy reverbs that created a huge space. The summer I turned 19 I made this slow beat and wrote a hook over it called “Nice and Slow.” I used my sampled vocal approach and started sending the song around and playing it for people. The response was always, “Whoa! Where did you sample this from?” At that moment, my sound was born.

By the spring, my songs were gaining some attention. “Nice and Slow” and “White Lies” charted on Hype Machine and a few months later I signed with Atlantic Records. A major-label deal marked a serious second chapter in my creative life. Songs were no longer practice swings. They counted. There were real stakes now. But with a new opportunity in front of me, I dove in head first.

I now had access to collaborators and studios that enabled me to indulge in new sounds. Though I remained a producer on all the tracks and played 90 percent of the instruments, the songs were elevated thanks to the input of the brilliant writers and producers I met — guys like Benny Blanco, Nick Ruth, and Franc Tetaz. What began as an experiment in a basement lab blossomed into a larger-scale process, resulting in the songs on my new EP, Intoxication.

Sonically, I was inspired by artists like Amy Winehouse and Raphael Saadiq, who breathed fresh life into the classic ’60s soul sound. Their vintage songs have a modern edge to the production. My process is the reverse. I try to write songs that, if played on an acoustic guitar, are very modern. But my execution of the singing, instrumentation, and production is vintage.

Lyrically, the songs on Intoxication personify love, money, and death as a drug, reflecting the way my submission to imagination has consumed me like a chemical.

My experiment became an abstract mind state that I want the listener to visit.


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Venue Information:
Terminal 5
610 W 56th St
New York, NY, 10019
http://www.terminal5nyc.com/