Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by Joe Russo

Sunday’s storm may have halted the third day of Governors Ball, but every rain cloud has a silver lining. And sometimes silver linings involve a budding blues icon playing a 600 capacity venue on a day’s notice.

Gary Clark Jr., who was scheduled to perform at the festival, consoled disappointed Ballers by booking a last-minute make-up gig at the intimate Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night. Announced just a day in advance, and this hot-ticket show sold out quick.

“Welcome back to New York!”, a fan shouted as Clark and his band took the stage. Never a man of many words, the headliner strapped on his guitar and tipped his cap to the crowd before opening his set with the breakthrough hit, “Bright Lights, Big City”.

Together the four-piece performed songs from 2015’s, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, each tune acting as a vehicle to Clark’s slow-burning guitar solos. The set moved at a pretty chill pace, with more uptempo tunes like “Ain’t Messin’ Around” and “Don’t Owe You a Thang” mixed in to keep the energy electric.

Song after song, the blues just coursed through this man’s veins, from his signature hat to his pinky ring, all the way to his black leather boots. At times during his solos, he seemed like a man possessed, his eyes shut as he mouthed along to the electric riffs that echoed from his axe.

Clark was clearly the man of the hour – from the audience to his own cohorts on stage, all eyes were on him. During an especially intense interlude, some captivated fans at Bowery began to shush the crowd – an act that finally got Clark to crack a smile before encouraging everyone to loosen up a bit.

“Let that out”, he said to his mesmerized congregation. “That’s what we’re here for.”


TheWaster.com | NYC