Posted on November 21, 2005 in Arts & Culture
By Richard Smart
While Derek Trucks is young, only 25 years old, he has already accumulated as much time on the road as many musicians have by the twilight of their careers. Trucks first began playing guitar when he was nine, and it wasn’t long after that he hit the road with his father as tour manager.
Sixteen years have passed now and Trucks is doing well. His band has released its third album, Joyful Noise, and he is touring to promote it as well as playing slide guitar with his idols, the Allman Brothers when they tour.
Trucks’ music is a blend of jazz, blues, soul and world music blended together. His goal is to be the counter to pop music, focusing strongly on performing songs that are closely tied to genre roots with a healthy dose of improvisation thrown into the mix.
Trucks’ performance at the State Theater was a shining example of how effective his music is. The band wove a musical tapestry of wailing slide guitar, soulful lyrics, lightning fast hand drum solos and lilting jazz flute melodies woven together into a style of music that was both heavily derivative and still entirely unique.
The band had the audience in the palm of its metaphorical hand from the opening of the show, which featured a jazzed out rendition of the classic, “Greensleeves”-if you don’t know the song, take a basic guitar course-until the encore. The show ended when the band launched into a jam session so irresistibly groovy it would make even the most rigor mortis affected corpse twitch a little.
While Derek Trucks is the front man of the band, the whole group functions like a well-oiled machine, and each musician brings different musical styles to the band, from Yonrico Scott’s Santana-like hand drum playing to Kofi Burbridge’s Jethro Tull-esque flute playing.
These guys aren’t out to prove anything or make a ton of money-not that they’d likely turn down a nice check-they’re just having a good time. They enjoy being on stage, they enjoy playing music, and that’s why they’re there. Consequently, everyone in the audience has a good time.
Unfortunately for Trucks, a poor venue negatively impacts the overall impression of a concert and the State Theater has some problems that can interfere with enjoying the show. Once you enter the theater for a concert, you aren’t allowed to leave and come back in, not even to stand on the sidewalk in front of the theater. This is despite the fact that the ATM inside has been broken for at least a week, which many concert-goers likely don’t know. Also, if you’re one of the many who are addicted to nicotine and respect that you can’t smoke in a public building, prepare to go a long time without a cigarette.
What’s even more troubling is that there is no consistent enforcement of the rule. Some kinder-hearted staff members will let folks go outside for money or other wants, others won’t. Then there is at least one who charges a five dollar re-entry fee. As if three dollars for bottled water wasn’t criminal enough.
If you’re going into the State, prepare yourself for a good time by making sure you have plenty of money, and have satisfied all of your vices before entering, unless you’re one of those many daredevils who ignore substance use laws while at concerts.
Regardless of the staff and technical headaches, the concert was great. Even with a relatively small turnout, the crowd all fed off of Trucks’ energy, and came together as one to rock and groove the night in to submission.