Last night at Double Door Aryk Crowder electrified the stage with his brand of soul-pop. His guitar was on fire all night, and the crowd, though standing far back from the stage, seemed to be into the sounds.
We got there early for once. Super early, actually. They hadn’t even opened the doors yet. We saw that Aryk wasn’t going to be on until 9:30, so we walked down to feast for a bite to eat. This place has amazing food. If you’re ever in that North/Milwaukee/Damen area, check it out (I had bbq salmon served with hotcakes and an avocado salsa).
After that we walked back over and talked to Aryk’s manager, Matt. Super nice guy. We still had about 10-15 before the show was starting, so we chatted about all things breakfast-related. We also talked about LOLcats, but that’s a story for another time.
Once Aryk got on stage, and played the opening licks from “Ready, Set…” it was apparent that this dude is talented. His band was keeping up with him pretty well, and everyone was tapping their feet and bobbing their heads. A couple people started dancing but stopped when they realized no one was going to join them.
After his first “Thank You” of the night, the band launched into two short songs with a nice musical segue in between, which I caught with the trusty Flip camera for your pleasure.
He played a couple songs off of his acoustic EP which just came out a week ago. Both of them were good, but they slowed things down a bit. All part of the show, of course, because after those he grabbed the next bands singer Anna Solpsis (I think) to join him on a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.”
This got the crowd back into things, and I have to say, it was a good cover. It was marred, however, by the sound system not getting the backup vocals to a level the audience could hear until near the end of the song.
Overall, I think I must stand by my initial comparison to Jonny Lang that I mentioned in my interview with Aryk. They’re both excellent guitarists who sing in a voice that makes them sound much older than they are. The live performance, as usual for an artist who plays this kind of music, is better than the recorded.
Aryk’s ability to take off on a solo and return effortlessly is one of the key ingredients in the recipe of good showmanship, and I think he already has most of those components down.
If you get the chance, check him out at one of his many upcoming shows around north Chicago and Wisconsin. If you don’t get the chance, pick up a copy of his single “Ready, Set…” or his new acoustic EP. He reminds me a lot of why I started digging the blues in the first place: that emotive power of the six-string and soulful vocals that can tear you apart just as quickly as they can get you jivin’ on the dancefloor.
- Upcoming shows include Rock Island Cafe in Neenah, WI on April 9th; Lock Stock And Barrel in Decatur, IL on April 23rd; and Chord on Blues in St. Charles, IL on April 29th
- You can pick up the single “Ready, Set…” on iTunes.