Article by Danny Coleman

Photos by Kimberly Annette

New York, NY ~ Friday, January 31st, 2014

On a recent Friday evening in New York City, the only thing hotter than all of the Super Bowl activity was the Tedeschi Trucks Band at Bowery Live!

Now for those of us (such as me) who have never seen the band live, I was unsure as to what to expect. My curiosity, and the musician in me, were focused like a laser beam on the stage.  What unfolded over the next hour and change was some of the best live guitar rock ‘n’ roll that I’ve ever witnessed.

“Made Up Mind,” the title cut off of their latest disc, got the night off to a rollicking start! The crowd (which was, to say the least; thick) was seemingly quite reserved at this “by invitation only” event hosted by John Varvatos’s Bowery Live; the sight once better known as CBGB.

_H5A6552_1I marveled at the ease with which Susan Tedeschi commanded the stage. Her presence, one of beauty and poise, yet rife with those straight forward jams and great guitar riffs that lend to her sexually edgy, in your face style. Susan was perfectly complimented by husband Derek, as he too ripped off scorching lick after scorching lick.

“Do I Look Worried” and “It’s So Heavy” off of the same new release, were followed by “Don’t Miss Me”  before slowing things down a bit with “The Sky Is Cryin’.” Now I’ve seen the Allman Brothers Band do this live, as well as George Thorogood; which until I watched Susan and Derek’s soulful performance of this great Elmore James classic, was my favorite. The emotion and dynamics that they poured into their version is rarely matched by any performer today, of any genre.

In my travels, as a musician and a writer, I have often found myself engaged in discussion on the viabily of blues in music. Old school purists quickly jump in and say, “Yes, all rock ‘n’ roll is based on the blues.” Younger generations generally refuse to see the connection and tend to get bored with the genre viewing it as “outdated” or “old.” They’ve obviously never seen a band like Tedeschi Trucks. Every bent note, every slide and every well constructed chord pattern brought their message across to the jam packed room in a big way. The blues are back and here to stay and so are we!

“Midnight In Harlem” and “Bound For Glory” off of their 2011 debut album “Revelator”  followed next by “The Storm” as the set sped headlong, like the cover of  “Made Up Mind”,  at the speed of a locomotive. I marveled at Trucks as he impressed me time after time with his smooth, yet at times, dirty guitar. Well placed and a perfect fit for Tedeschi, as she stakes her claim among rock’s elite _H5A6702players.

What happened next, after the set’s conclusion, baffled me. I stood in this room, full beyond capacity, as the audience seemed unfazed that they had finished their set.  We had just witnessed an amazing display of guitar playing. A great band, fantastic vocals and a rockin’ show but yet, nobody was asking for an encore? Perhaps it was the free vodka or the close proximity to their neighbor that was clouding their judgment?  Had it not been for the show emcee (rumored to be Mr. Varvatos himself) imploring the crowd to bring them back to the stage there would have been no encore. It appeared that the crowd was more than content to mill about and exit.

To say that I was flabbergasted is an understatement. Here I am totally blown away by this impressive unit and yet the crowd seemed ambivalent to the whole situation. Seemingly unfazed by the crowd, Tedeschi Trucks reclaimed the platform. “Don’t Drift Away” featured Tedeschi’s soulful vocals, equaled only by Truck’s phenomenal slide guitar ability, married with the horn and rhythm sections kept the groove going.

At the song’s completion, the crowd began to filter out a bit as the band broke into their last number. Sadly I was not privy to the title as my vantage point had become blocked and distracted by less appreciative others, not ruining an otherwise perfect evening but serving only as a minor glitch.

Seeing Tedeschi Trucks in an intimate venue such as Bowery Live was not only spectacular but extremely entertaining. The band seemed very comfortable despite their cramped stage conditions. They were engaging, upbeat and as the night went on obviously quite content with the results.

Never witnessing them live, they’ve made a fan out of this reviewer and rest assured, they’ve “Made Up Mind” to see them over and over again in the future.



Leave a Reply