Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang
The Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee, WI hosted two nights of the Legend, Buddy Guy and the next generation of Blues, Jonny Lang.
The Northern Lights Theater is one of the best places to see live music up close and in a beautiful venue. Growing up in Chicago, there was no hiding from the blues – be it growing up in Uptown or going down to Maxwell St. every Sunday and hearing blues bands jamming. While my passion and reviews are more geared toward the Rock genre, my soul is drenched in the blues and if you know your history of Rock, then you know Blues was where it was born from. While Rock guitarists thrill us with sweet solos and looks that make the women scream, a Bluesman can make the guitar sing and play it like they are making love to a woman.
Tonight proved that while Blues music is not really played on the radio, it still has a great following all over the world. Opening the show was Jonny Lang, who looks way younger than his true age of 31 and a backing band that was as solid and tight as any band you will find. Tearing into Don’t Stop (For Anything) is more of a modern day blues with a hard rock edge. Throughout the song Lang showed off his skills as he tore up the fret board. Playing, A Quitter Never Wins showcased Lang’s vocals which he sings from the gut and soul. During the end of the solo, he broke one of his strings and still kept playing as If the string was never missing. As I watched the set, I felt goosebumps and emotions as the guitar transfixed me into another place. The night ended with Lie to Me as the crowd stood up for a standing ovation. The one regret I think most of the crowd thought as well, no encore. If you’ve never seen Jonny Lang live, I would highly recommend it because the CD does no justice.
Buddy Guy is revered in the rock world as one of the best guitar players ever and has influenced many generations of players. His style of play runs the gamut from Metal to country finger-picking and combines them together to form what has been called, Chicago Blues. As he walked out with his band off all-stars he opened with, Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues and as soon as he bent the guitar strings you knew you were in for treat. With a voice that could go from a high octave to low grumblings, he had the crowd in the palm of his hands and at the age of 76, has the showmanship and storytelling skills to keep you enthralled.
During Hoochie Coochie Man, rhythm guitarist, Ric Hall tore into a meaty solo that fleshed out the song perfectly. Buddy Guy is not afraid to use strong language in his show and it is never over the top, just good fun. He went out into the crowd as he played, Drowning on Dry Land, taking pictures, sitting with fans and at one point went up to the balcony to play for them. I just don’t think he knows he is 76 as he acts like a man in his 20’s.
Buddy Guy’s Son came on to play with him during Feels like Rain. Guy also played a few cuts on Acoustic that sounded like you were at a VH1 Storyteller show. As he ended the night, he played a medley of blues and rock that ended in him doing a Jimi Hendrix solo that would have made Jimi proud. He then thanked the crowd for coming out as he passed out picks and signed autographs.
This is a for sure a tour Blues fans will not want to miss.
The Northern Lights Theater has several upcoming shows featuring the Blues as well as other genres of music which can be checked out at http://paysbig.com/entertainment/calendar
Review and Photos by Peter Lizano