Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lance Lopez Rocks The Baked Potato - Don't Bogart That Bogert, My Friend!

There were moments tonight, when things just took off - now, that was fun." ~ Tim Bogert
"Goodness gracious, 'lil Susie sho likes to roll...."

To say the least there were moments last night at the world famous Baked Potato last night in Los Angeles in which it seemed the small club itself might just take flight as Texas guitar star Lance Lopez raised the roof again and again with incendiary singing and molten lava blues rock.

Lopez has been on the rise for several years, and his star was as bright as the moon on this pre-NAMM weekend - a weekend which sees the best of the best descend upon the city of angels to display their wares, and Lopez is taking a backseat to none.

Sharing the thrills were a band of no small measure - drummer Bryan Head kept the big beat, local legend Chuck Kavooras blew the folks away with deft phrasing and some of the best slide work on the side of the Mississippi, but the MVP goes to an incredible Tim Bogert who eased into the band's first set before tearing the house the hell down when he combined his ferocious bass chops with a great reminder of just how good a vocalist he's alway been on a raging version of the Cactus classic, Evil. Pickup bands get little better than this, and Lopez set the bar mighty high for those who follow him into town this coming week.

Lance Lopez sings as well as he plays, and he might be the best blues rock guitarist currently on the circuit. He attacked a series of Paul Reed Smith guitars with an astounding fury, and unbridled passion, and his guttural wail literally shook the walls of this venerated institution - I've been coming to the Baked Potato since Steve Lukather's Los Lobotomys were rattling eye teeth in the '80s, and this was as good a night as I've ever experienced at The Potato. Hyperbole? Hell, no - this show rocked, beginning to end.

His style is straight from Texas, but it's soaked in A Hendrixian, Pagey kind of blend that rocks as much as it has the blues, and every solo had the crowd riled up, and when he sang, you could see the audience's palpable appreciation and awe.

Lopez played the role of affable ringleader with grace and style - he gave Kavooras ample time to weave his indelibly tasteful solos over and over, and sang Tim Bogert's praises just as much as he should have - I can't tell you how thrilling it was to see the guy who was such a cornerstone in legendary acts such as Vanilla Fudge, Beck, Bogert & Appice, and the aforementioned Cactus return to the stage after a few years of semi-retirement. We swapped stories at the bar before and after the show, and if there's a guy who should write a book, it's Tim Bogert. Hell, he even has the title, and a co-author, should he want one (wink, wink!). He's been writing the book since 1965, and tonight we started a new chapter.

Chuck Kavooras
ZZ Top owner and operator Billy Gibbons has been singing Lopez's praise for ages, and it's time the world got on board. Like I told Lance after the show, this is the year of the lance. In fact, Gibbons just laid tracks that will be on an album Lopez is in town to work on with everyone's drummer Kenny Aronoff, and producer/bassist Fabrizio Grossi - the last time Grossi and Aronoff got together as a rhythm section it resulted in Leslie West's Unusual Suspects, and I'm guessing that Dr. Z & The Supersonic Blues Machine will find a vein of gold later this year when it finds its release.

Tim Bogert
In the meantime, if Lopez comes your way, don't miss it - he's at the apex of his game, and he's looking and sounding better than ever. If there's any justice in the world, The Baked Potato won't hold Lance's crowd next January. At any rate, he blew the crowd away last night, and here's to hoping we see more of Mr. Bogert in 2014. This was good for my soul, and I know I was not alone.


Bil McCombe said...
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gman said...
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