The electric combination of guitarist Geoff Hartwell, drummer Yonrico Scott, bassist Brendan O’Grady (or ‘Bo Grady’) and keys player Cary Brown meshed between blues, rock and roots, but always kept tight thanks to the backbone Scott provided. As the drummer of the Derek Trucks Band, it was easy to see why Allman Brother’s Band member, Trucks has been playing with him for more than 17 years. His versatility behind (over, around, behind, etc. – I’ll explain) the kit, soulful voice and communication with the band brought the four-piece to a new level.
Hartwell found his way around the guitar, especially with his glass slide, bringing dirty blues guitar to the forefront of a slew of both originals and covers ranging from B.B. King to ZZ Top. It was when Hartwell snuck up the neck to piercing pitches or threw in a few bars of shredding to an otherwise standard song that he shined with potential to expand the music beyond blues, rock or any limiting genre title. Complemented by Grady’s solid, funky bass lines and gruff blues vocals beside Brown’s pounding keys solos, the energy behind the delivery of the band was addicting.
But Scott stole the show with his thick, smooth, soulful voice and dexterity on the set. When he broke out into his drum solo intro (that lasted a solid minute or two? Maybe more?) it caught the crowd off guard. Suddenly he was breaking into a solo that had him using all types of mallets, sticks and brushes while banging drum heads, rims, stands and whatever else he felt like attacking. I think I forgot to record because somewhere in the middle of the whole thing I realized my mouth was hanging open and I was staring obnoxiously. And just as swiftly as he had worked into the solo, he broke right back into the beat of the next song.
It was a show that deserved a much bigger crowd than it drew on a quiet Cinco De Mayo and hopefully the next time they pull through, more people will pay attention. Even more incredible was as the show was happening, The Derek Trucks Band won “Band of the Year” at the annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee. Scott got word of it through a text during the show.
It’s not often you get musicians and moments like that on a Thursday night in Syracuse. But here’s hoping we start hearing about and celebrating them a little bit more.