Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
There are times when a live performance is so dynamic and full of electricity that you just know that you are in the presence of greatness. That was the feeling last Friday night in Newport, Kentucky. The crowd wasn’t big, which is very unfortunate, but the energy was heavy and filled the entire room. These guys are consummate professionals and uber-talented. They are so in tune with each other that they elevate themselves from a four piece to maybe a six or seven piece band.
Perfection isn’t in their band vocabulary, and their humbleness comes through loud and clear. But, perfection is in my vocabulary, not that the show was super scripted and choreographed. On the contrary, their looseness and ability to play songs on the fly with precision and vigor is my perfection measuring stick. And by those standards, these guys are off the charts. From the beginning of the performance, I knew that the Blackfoot Gypsies are special and have what it takes to make it to the big stage. Their days of playing small rooms are probably numbered so see them in an intimate setting while you still can.
The “Gypsies” did not have an opening band, but they filled the evening nicely playing for almost two hours straight. It was one of the few times where I felt that it was actually too short and could have focused my ADDled mind for two more hours on another set. They could have played all night and I would have watched and listened for the duration.
They have the look and swagger of a very well established band that is already playing big rooms. Don’t get that confidence confused with arrogance because these guys are anything but arrogant. They are four of the nicest, most down to earth guys you could ever meet. But, they do have confidence and that is commendable. They realize they have something special together as a cohesive unit and that is great. It is truly living in the moment.
Matthew Paige, the front man and guitar player is the quintessential lead singer. Not only does he ooze talent, he has the stage presence to captivate the crowd. On his right, you have Mississippi blues man Ollie Dogg blowing the harp like a maniac. On Matt’s left, is Dylan Whitlow thumping that bass like John Entwistle. Dylan also provides some outstanding harmonies that add so much to the songs. And behind Matt is co founder Zach Murphy keeping the beat and pounding the skins.
These guys played most of their new album including I’m So Blue, Everybody’s Watching, Promise To Keep, Potatoes And Whiskey, Back To New Orleans, Lying Through Your Teeth, Woman Woman, She Was Mine and many others. The songs sound better live than on the album and they sound great on the album. They also are loose enough on stage to exchange banter with the audience and even play requests. They played some of their earlier material too, including a bluesy rocker called Coming Through The Pines. They also played a bluesy and spaced out rendition of Willie Nelson’s Whiskey River and absolutely crushed it.
In conclusion, I say see the Blackfoot Gypsies live and buy their merchandise. You will get a huge return on your investment. Here is the link to Twangri-La’s review of To The Top with links to their music and how to buy their swag. That’s an order!