U.S. blues guitarist Eric Steckel played to a small, but appreciative crowd at The Gov on Monday night. Unfortunately, being a Monday night, of a long weekend, when half of Adelaide had been in Melbourne for the grand final, this gig was far from packed, the way it would have been on a normal night.
However, the artists didn’t let that faze them.
First up was local wunderkind, Stefan Hauk. At just 22 years old, Hauk is already a fine guitar technician, and playing with the requisite passion and energy. He delivered a spotless set of blues, playing both original numbers, and covers of classics such as Leave My Girl Alone. Playing with Hauk were bassist Damien Steele Scott and drummer Travis Dragani, who kept the set tight and powerful.
Main act, Steckel is also appallingly young, still being in his late 20s. Like Hauk, he has been playing since he was a child. Steckel harks back to the power era of blues guitarists, when they were often the back-bone of rock groups. He can shred it and he can make it sing, delivering a beautifully put-together set that moved through various blues genres. He opened with the Robert Johnson classic Come On In My Kitchen, then moved into some of his own compositions such as the lyrical Feels Like Home. Other originals which stood out were Day Dream, We’re Still Friends and My Darkest Hour. These were interspersed with such standards as Born Under a Bad Sign.
For his final two numbers he brought Hauk back to the stage for a guitar-off, which including a sensational rendition of Hendrix’s Voodoo Child. The audience was left in no doubt as to the talent and energy of these two musicians. Called back for an encore, Steckel performed another original, Empty Promises.
Blues guitar is in good hands. And new, quality, work is being produced. These two guys are testament to that. Watching them as they grow over the next few years will be a joy to all blues fans. And lucky Adelaide: one of them actually lives here!