Photos By: Summer Luu
By: Kayli Stix
Gary Clark Jr. sold out House of Blues San Diego this past Friday night and the venue was jam packed.
No, really – the crowd was packed from the stage all the way to the bar in the back, and upstairs was the same.
The bass was pumping, as Gary Clark Jr. was unafraid of ripping his red Gibson already in the first few songs of his set. He looked as cool as ever, donning his signature hat and sporting a suede purple jacket. Gary, Johnny Radelat (drums), and King Zapata (rhythm guitar) connected in the ultimate jam session; the same rock n roll energy flowed through the three musicians, clearly familiar with one another’s traits and following each other’s leads. The band treated the audience to extended versions of his tracks from his 2012 record, Blak And Blu, including “When My Train Pulls In”, “Don’t Owe You A Thang” and “Things Are Changin'”.
The crowd was eclectic — women in dreadlocks and cowboy boots rubbed shoulders with single Dads on their first dates, peering over young businessmen just off work. They cheered during Gary’s improvised (and extremely high-pitched) guitar solos and swayed during his quieter R&B baby makin’ songs. The venue eventually stank of spilled liquor, likely a result of everyone squeezing in like sardines to get to the spot they wanted. But that didn’t stop anyone from having a good time and enjoying the pure rock god that is Gary Clark Jr.
His voice sounded exactly as it does on his record and that is something that you don’t get a lot these days with musicians. Gary’s voice and guitar come through the speakers raw, with a confidence exhibited only by talented musicians. He played “Grinder” and “The Healing”, popular tracks off his 2015 record, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. A natural performer, Gary astonished the audience with his rifts, accentuated marks and all the soul poured into each string touched.
Fortunately, in case you missed Gary Clark Jr. this time around, he’ll be back at Humphrey’s By The Bay on August 2nd. Purchase tickets here.