Austin native and Grammy award winner Gary Clark Jr played the first of not one, not two, but three Oklahoma shows on friday night.
The first of which was at the Criterion in Oklahoma City followed by two nights at Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom.
To call Clark Jr just a blues guitarist would be to put him in a box and quite frankly a disservice to him as an artist as his sound transcends just the blues. Listeners will find a blend of blues for sure but also rock, soul and even some hip hop influences can be heard throughout his discography.
The venue had an impressively balanced mix of young 20-30 year olds all the way to adults in their 60s and then some.
The show opened with a performance from Austin based hip-hop duo and also friends / collaborators of Gary Clark Jr, Blackillac. The duo got the crowd hyped up with about 30 minutes of original songs and freestyles. I was very eager to see how a crowd of blues fans would react to a hip hop opener but the reception was absolutely great, the crowd participated, waved their hands back and forth and really got into the show.
Clark and his band took the stage and immediately went into frequent show opener “Bright Lights” The stage production was minimal, just some back lights outlining the musicians. But this kind of show is not about the production. It’s about musicianship and fully immersing yourself in the experience.
The bulk of the setlist was songs from his grammy award winning album “This Land” and while the actual title track was not performed, fans were given explosive performances of album standouts “The guitar man” and “Low down rolling stone.”
The talent on the stage was undeniable but the show itself was so much more than that. It was an experience , a vibe, if you will. He’s not “the next Hendrix” or “the next Stevie” he is the Gary Clark Jr and a name that is not going to go away any time soon.
Gary Clark, Jr.