Stanton Moore Trio, The Independent, San Francisco, CA – 5/8
Photos by Kelsey Winterkorn
Opening for Stanton Moore was a great band that I wouldn’t call the Eric McFadden Trio, but it was Eric McFadden for sure, and if there was a twist, it was in the right direction. With his long swinging dreadlocks and deep, resounding voice, his vocals came a near-second to his guitar skills showcased over the hour’s set. With music ranging from New Orleans Zydeco accented with amazing tuba-playing to good old Rock and Roll. To all it was more than just and opening act. It was a reason to be at the Independent on time, and a show not to be missed.
Shortly afterwards, Stanton Moore emerged out with his trio that also included Robert Walter on Hammond organ and Will Bernard on guitar. The first three songs were from Moore’s new record, Groove Alchemy. They were each very distinct, with Walter showcasing his ability to keep down the rhythm and tempo while Moore displaying his chops. At one point the drummer literally jumped from his seat, moving from his snare, kick-drum, to the crash symbol, high hat and then some, his solo complemented by Walter’s minimal work of filling in gaps on organ or Bernard’s efforts in taking the song off on a jazz-flavored tangent, before passing it back to Moore.
After the first three songs the sold out Independent saw the appearance of the fourth member of this “Trio”: Anders Osborne. Osborne, is a Swedish born master guitarist and talented singer, whose next album was co-produced by Moore and Walter. With his long Viking beard and rock and roll demeanor he played a number of the songs off this upcoming record. They were rock-driven with a tinge of blues and a good measure of Moore pounding away on the drums. One of the standout songs was a slower and darker piece called “Acapulco”. At times it felt like Anders was outshining Stanton Moore, not by outplaying him, and not because the stage felt like a competitive field but simply because his stage presence was illuminating. He moved himself from Walter’s side of the stage and then back to over to guitarist Bernard. Still, Osborne paid homage to Moore, by facing him as Stanton pounded out rhythmical solos in between heavy blues riffs and driving lyrics.
Towards the end of the set, the music then turned full-circle in switching back to some of Moore’s favorites. Again, both Walter and Bernard acquitted themselves admirably, with the guitarist completely on time and sharp, sitting back and playing rhythm and then at times completely ripping it open and rocking out a distorted jam.
All in all, beginning with the tuba player intermingling with McFadden in an over the top opening performance and extending through Stanton Moore’s Trio plus one, this was a satisfying evening from beginning to end.