March 16, 2012


SXSW Day 3: Gary Clark Jr.'s Gutter Blues Conquer Fader Fort

Roger Kisby
Roger Kisby

Black hat. Black shirt. Black pants. Sunglasses. A guitar as comfortable as his own hand. Austin blues rocker Gary Clark Jr. took over the Fader Fort presented by Converse, making apostles of the large crowd.

Maybe it was the home field advantage, with Clark Jr. being one of the few artists to actually grow up in Austin. It was more likely, though, his mesmerizing guitar skills and raspy, yet soulful, voice; a voice that sounds like it's channeling 100 years of pain, heartbreak and wonderment in one body.

The set blended short, powerful songs with extended jam sessions and covers—a nod to Hendrix highlighted the show—and by the end, the crowd began chanting "One more song" repeatedly. He obliged, ripping into the dirty gutter blues of "Bright Lights."

It's cool to see Clark Jr. at the White House, causing Barack Obama to close his eyes and vibe out, but under a hot Austin sun, it's transcendent.

Gary Clark Jr. - "Bright Lights"