Coachella: Gary Clark Jr.
Gary Clark Jr. is a bluesman in every sense of the word.
I first got a chance to watch him perform during Escape to New York, and though I thought he killed it then, I was completely blown away by his performance at Coachella. His music rolls between heartfelt rhythms to ferocious picking, as if Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and a funky Otis Redding all decided to teach a kid how to play rock-and-roll with soul. He’s a throwback to a different era of music, with a style and approach that sounds straight out of the 50s. His backing band is filled with solid musicians so natural with the tone that they must have been raised on the blues.
Here’s the thing… What makes Gary Clark Jr. so incredible is that he isn’t copying someone else’s sound or actively aiming to recreate a retro sound— he simply plays with a sincerity that comes through in every note. In a word, his music has feeling. I can’t think of a better way to start a festival.