Ah, the historic Fillmore in San Francisco! What a place! One of those “…if these walls could speak!” kind of places.
Countless legendary performers have graced the stage there since the equally legendary Bill Graham started booking acts there back in 1965. The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Who, even Frank Zappa! The list goes on and on of the pioneers, the all-out musical legends that have played there. To say it is a special venue doesn’t even come close. That being said, it’s been a LONG time since we’ve had an excuse to visit the Fillmore. As memory serves, our last show there was Dogstar back in 1997 or so (which was an epic show actually) Regardless, we were excited to get back there and share the place with our daughter who’s never had the pleasure.
I was surprised to learn there was a opener for the opening band, a Jake Pinto, who also happens to be “the new guy” I mentioned in my review from last night’s show. He started the night off with a half hour solo set, just him and a vintage Wurlitzer electric piano. He was quite good. I liked his songs, some more than others of course. But as I said to the Mrs.; I like his sound, but it really isn’t conducive to a live music setting. Just a little too mellow. I’m absolutely going to check out his recordings, as he’s a fine musician with a nice voice, but in a live setting his music was more appropriate to a dark lounge, where you’d be dropping in for the drinks, not the show. But, new discovery for listening AND solved the mystery of who the new guy with MCH is, so I give it a thumbs up!
Bay Ledges was up next and Wow! What a difference from the night before! They looked better, they played better and their energy level was off the charts. I was pretty impressed this time around. They definitely won me over and now they too are on my follow-up listening list to check out their recorded work.
Magic City Hippies came out with essentially the same set as last night. But with the bigger stage to roam and a bigger crowd to vibe with (and the vibe of the room was ELECTRIC!), the boys just let it RIP!
The Hippies’ guitarist John Coughlin was in rare form, I think the best I’ve ever seen him. In my opinion this guy is the best guitarist nobody knows about. Seriously. The way he so effortlessly blends so many styles together- rock, funk, jazz, reggae – is impressive and his slide work is spectacular. But then, he’ll go and play a bunch of stuff that doesn’t even seem like sounds POSSIBLE from a guitar! The only other guitarist I can think to compare him to is Adrian Belew, who is a living legend.
And this is not to diminish Robby Hunter’s guitar playing. He’s such a compelling vocalist and front man that I always forget what stellar guitarist he is until I see him on stage. He takes the first lead section in the song Modern Animal and its a scorcher! And when he and John solo in harmony? Nothing finer on a stage, let me tell you.
The rest of the band was on point, solid as a rock as always. It was another great night of outstanding music, played by outstanding musicians, leaving everything they had on stage. And further reinforcement of Magic City Hippies being our favorite live band, ever.
Thank you gentlemen, it was a night to remember!
Thanks for reading!