It’s always the same start. Blackness erupts, the crowd deafens the overpacked Danforth, and the band take their place behind their instruments. This time, there is an energy different than other bands.
On opposing sides of the stage their tools wait. a guitar and a microphone, on one side, the other has a drumset. The guys of Black Pistol Fire nearly run to their places. With just those instruments they can range themselves up a bluesy mash up of rock and soul.
Jumping into their set takes a literal turn when singer and guitarist, Kevin McKeown is three feet in the air as soon as the first note strikes. He comes down long enough to throw himself into the crowds waiting arms, guitar in hand. Never missing a note as he plucks his guitar while avoiding the grip of fans enthralled by the music and energy. Pulling himself away from the crowd seemed impossible.
The stage clears and roadies test Clark’s guitars, while a pleasant reminder not to smoke erupts from the speakers. Then again, it’s black, and he emerges from darkness. His spot is centre stage and his band flows behind him, spread far over the stage, giving Gary Clark Jr the room to wander. Beginning he entrances the room with his guitar and smoky voice. Mainly male, the crowd grapples and few husky yells as a solo erupts, stalking across the stage with closed eyes he plays as he done countless times before. Watching a musician lose themselves into a song is always interesting to see. Often it’s faked and seems boring as the persona attempts to work the audience. But as Clark stalks about, returning to his mic to wail out and raspy note, it’s a keen moment to amply see why he’s earned the name “The Chosen One.”