Live at City Varieties on Monday, 28th February 2005
Paul Curreri has the easy going charm that helps to make such folksy, sit down gigs pleasant affairs. It's a predictably older crowd too, plenty of grey hair in view. Curreri has a compliment to start: the City Varieties is the nicest place he's played. No-one wanted to tell him that it makes us think of men in drag.
His lyrics provide rambling shaggy dog stories that are always quirky enough to hold interest. The playful note-to-self song 'That's not going to be happening anymore' offers the highlight of his set as well as showing his unabashed habit of misfretting his licks. Respect to any man who doesn't practice like John Petrucci.
So, on a technical level, things are left to Kelly Joe Phelps. This is a man whose rolling and tumbling finger picking can go on forever. Unfortunately, for the first two tunes he did just that (Jerico, Gold Tooth). They go on and on without enough variation in rhythm. The problem with Phelps and country blues guitarists like him is that sometimes the chord changes get lost in a flurry of notes.
Between songs Phelps makes for uneasy viewing. Muttering away that nothing much has been happening he lacked the easy charm of Curreri. He also forgot to bring his slide which must have disappointed many of his fans who wanted him to flip his guitar over and grease the fret board. He tried some new, as yet unnamed material too but perhaps his cover versions of Catfish Blues and Killing Floor stood out the most.