By Pete Mauch //
The Mint is hosting San Francisco native Eric McFadden every Wednesday this month, and I was fortunate enough to catch the most anticipated third Wednesday show in January. The evening’s All-Star lineup featured guitarist Nels Cline from Wilco and bassist Mike Watt from The Minutemen.
Eric McFadden is considered by many, especially his peers, to be a straight-up, bad-ass guitar virtuoso, and he showcased his many different skills on this night.
McFadden started things off with a couple solo songs with just him and an acoustic guitar, which he actually plays more like an electric. His playing is hard to pin-point because he can switch from a hard-rocking solo to a finger-picking flamenco jam. I particularly liked the second song he played called “Sister Maggie, Brother Sam”, which has a Western feel to it — almost to the point where it should be on the soundtrack for “Django Unchained”. McFadden has a very dark side to his songs, and this one definitely fits the category.
Throughout the night, McFadden would alternate his cast of All-Stars, but he started with Seth Ford-Young from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on bass and studio drummer Curt Bisquera on the skins.
Also, the amazing Norton Wisdom was painting live on stage, which was truly amazing to see. He never stays with one painting, but instead just wipes it away and starts on a new one. He repeated this at least ten times and he truly added to the overall atmosphere, which was a little twisted.
Staying with the theme, McFadden then covered “Blight”, which pleased the Widespread Panic fans in attendance. The song is a nod to his bandmate Dave Schools, who he plays with in the band Stockholm Syndrome.
Nels Cline and Mike Watt finally joined forces in the second set, and they absolutely rocked out. It got really loud and a little drowned out, but the fire between Cline and Watt is undeniable. They play in a supergroup together called Banyan with Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction and Wisdom, who paints at every show of theirs as well.
Mike Watt only stayed on stage for about t30 minutes, but he definitely made his presence known. Nels Cline stayed on stage for the majority of the second set, and he never disappoints. He is a master of the whammy bar, alternating his tone all while wailing away.
McFadden and company encored with “Maggot Brain” by Parliament Funkadelic. McFadden previously toured with P-Funk as their first mandolin player but later played guitar with the band.
It was one hell of a night out, and I can’t wait to do it all again next week when McFadden once again brings some amazing talent, including Steve Molitz of Particle, to the stage.
You can buy tickets here for the next Eric McFadden residency show on Wednesday, January 23rd at The Mint.