Going to the concert of a pop or standard rock act, one pretty much knows what they’re getting into. Maybe there’s some variety of the songs or which album the band pulls from, but the songs themselves deviate minimally, if at all, from their original CD version. A blues show, on the other hand, offers as many twists and turns as musically possible and, as Chris Bergson demonstrated on Friday at Union Hall, treats even avid fans to a new musical experience.
Friday also saw the first real snow storm of New York’s winter and as the crowd filtered through Brooklyn, the snow turned to freezing rain, culminating into a slushy mess. The cold and grey was the perfect backdrop for an evening of blues. Chris started with two solo numbers, alternating between guitars as he eased the crowd into the night. After “Sanctuary,” a good exercise for the heartstrings, Matt Clohesy and Tony Leone came up to join on bass and drums, respectively. The band quickly picked up the pace and the crowd was eager for the gear change.
Once the tempo and material lightened up, Bergson’s guitar skills took center stage as the band riffed through their latest disc, Fall Changes. What they lacked in new material, they more than made up for in musicality. Every song featured an impressive solo, usually from Bergson, but both Clohesy and Leone were showcased individually, and rightly so.
The humble stage at Union Hall provided a cozy and understated venue for their talent and let the crowd experience each others’ reactions as well as the music. From the cuddling couples to small groups of pals, a sense of camaraderie swept the audience and added a kind of intimacy rarely found in larger venues or pop shows. Except for the light banging sound from the bocce court above, the show could just have easily been in your friend’s basement – if you happened to be friends with a really stellar blues trio.
* By Jesy B who is currently auditioning stellar blues trios to befriend.