The Metal Files

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Eric Johnson & Sonny Landreth Concert Review 09/30/2011

with 2 comments

I was introduced to Eric Johnson’s music when Ah Via Musicom was released in 1990 by my friend Mike W.  Mike enjoyed he “shredders” like I did and dubbed the cassette for me.  I liked it a lot and went back and bought Tones as well.  We were excited to see him at the Boathouse in Norfolk later that year.  It was a great show all around.  I didn’t follow Eric’s career, probably because of the time in between the follow-up which was 6 years.  Out of sight, out of mind, eh?

I live in Eric’s hometown now and he rarely plays here but it’s not uncommon to see him do a guest spot when other guitarists roll through town.  He recent jammed with Dweezil Zappa and I’ve seen hm hit the stage with Oz Noy.  I hadn’t see EJ live since that 1990 show and was pretty excited to finally catch him last Friday.  I think he may have done 1 or 2 shows in the last 5 years here (I could be wrong) and I missed them all for one reason or another.

We had good seats and day of the show I was pretty excited about it, even after driving home 3 hours from Dallas.

The opener was Sonny Landreth who I had never heard of until this show was announced.  I was really impressed with his set.  He’s a very unique rock/blues/jazz fusion/country-ish player.  He predominantly uses a slide but does a lot of intricate harmonic techniques and chord structures with both hands.  It was pretty neat to see.  The guy has been around for a long time and had played with John Hiatt and Jimmy Buffett (blech!).  It was a good set and his drummer was great.  I think the bassist was good too, but I couldn’t hear him due to the mix.  The Paramount Theater has strange sound and I think I may try to get seats further back in the venue next time.

There was a short intermission and then EJ and his band took the stage.  It started out with him just doing a few acoustic pieces, one of which was a Paul Simon lullabye.  The band comes out he’s got the phenomenal Chris Marsh on bass.  The drummer was some young guy named Mark something-or-other.  Solid player, obviously schooled.  Eric’s set consisted of a lot of newer material and some covers, including John Coltrane’s Mr. D, which was awesome.  I will be up front and say that I was rather bored with EJ’s set as there wasn’t much of his rock stuff.  So bored as a matter of fact that I left about 3/4 through his set.  I was sitting there about to fall asleep.  As good as EJ is, his stuff does get a bit “samey” sounding and I tend to get bored quickly.

Chris Marsh was certainly the highlight for me.  He’s an astonishing bassist, effortless and awesome.

Other than seeing him sit in with other players, I doubt I’ll go see him live again.

Written by The Metal Files

October 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

2 Responses

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  1. Too bad you left early–Sonny came back onstage and they jammed some on a couple more of each other’s tunes, and finished with an encore of Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” (But yeah, I know what you mean about EJ’s set–he’s a wizard, but sometimes my attention was wandering. Nonstop wank gets to be a bit much. Sonny at least lets his playing breathe some. If I didn’t know they were going to jam I might’ve left even earlier than you.)

    Glad you got turned on to Sonny. He’s one of my all-time favorites, a respected “musician’s musician” and Grammy nominee who isn’t as well-known as he deserves. And on top of that a nice, down-to-earth, approachable guy. He’s from Lafayette, Louisiana, one of those spots that just breeds/attracts dozens of exceptional musicians. I went there to watch him record “Grant Street Live” several years ago and came back with a whole list of favorite new bands, some of whom have also become good friends. Enjoy.

    Lisa J Gouveia

    October 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm

  2. Hi Lisa, I don’t mind guitar wanking/shredding, I prefer it! I play in a band with a virtuoso type guitarist. :) Eric wasn’t really doing it enough.

    The doing a Hendrix song makes me more glad I left as I’m not a JH fan at all. Lots of respect for him, just don’t like to listen. Heard his stuff way too much growing up. Thanks for posting!

    The Metal Files

    October 3, 2011 at 5:11 am


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