Gary Clark Jr. enlivens St. Louis with soul & guitar solos

Gary Clark Jr. hosted a night for music lovers at The Factory in St. Louis. The musician from Austin showed up with one of the most impressive rigs I have seen in a while, which was only rivaled in impressiveness by the way he played the guitar. The audience at The Factory showed up early and were clearly excited for the show to get started. Although the venue was seated, everyone was on their feet as soon as the lights started to dim.

Opening the show was Abraham Alexander, who put on a soulful and earnest performance. Standing onstage solo, Alexander wailed on the guitar and poured his heart out, adding emotional context to the songs he was playing in between each. You could tell that this really helped him connect with the audience and made the entire performance a very intimate experience.

Following Abraham Alexander was the man everyone was there to see — Gary Clark Jr. 

He and his band took the stage under a massive lighting rig that looked like a huge beaming sun above them. His accompaniment and backup singers settled in as Gary began to lay into his guitar. He basically didn’t stop until the end of the show, wailing on the guitar, pulling out such emotional notes from the wooden box and metal strings. The music washed out over the crowd in waves as the giant artificial sun bathed them all in light. The songs were a mix of blues, rock, and soul as Gary Clark Jr. took the audience through an odyssey that spanned his many years as a musician. Rarely have I seen someone so commanding of a guitar, who can pull the notes out of it as if it were second nature. That, to me, is the mark of a true master — to make an art look effortless.

And Clark made it look effortless indeed, guitar weeping like George Harrison.

This was not my first time seeing Gary Clark Jr. and it definitely won’t be the last! I shot him once before when he headlined Music at the Intersection music festival here in St. Louis a couple years ago and I’m hoping to catch him at Bonnaroo in a couple of weeks, too! You should also try to do the same the next time he plays in a city near you!

Photography by Sean Rider

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