Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
Guitar wizards. Rock masters. Blues kings.
So while Wes and his band were through the 850 I ended up seeing them twice. The shows were drastically different for a wide variety of reasons – so a bit further down I will review each show individually.
The band is three members strong, but as their name implies, Wes is the focus. He combines distorted guitar, classic blues chords, and a love of reverb into blistering sets of rock, southern rock, and blues. Although the guitar is the focus, Wes had a strong voice reminiscent of the greats of Southern Rock. He has a lot of power in his vocal delivery – something that isn’t always common in this style of vocals.
So how could two shows be so different?
The first one was at Funky Blues in Sandestin. Our late arrival made us miss all but the last set. There was a guest keyboardist / vocalist that was sitting in, which gave Wes a lot of freedom to relax and get into the guitar aspects of the songs. It seemed like after each song the band was getting a little louder and a little louder – by the end of the night I think most of the equipment was cranked up about as high as it would go. That made for a really fun finale centered on Jimi Hendrix styled reverb, amp noise, and long distorted notes. Definitely a memorable way to end the night.
The second show owes it greatness to a simple fact that I wish wasn‘t true; lots of places in South Walton are legitimately scared of loud music. See, managers of bars have literally been arrested for sound violations.
But what made us see Wes and crew again so soon? Well beyond how much we enjoyed the set we saw in Sandestin, we knew that Zack Rosicka was planning on sitting in. Zack is well known in the area as a great guitar playing and singer – and the concept of two guitar wizards was too good to pass up.
From the get go we knew this would be a different type of gig. During sound check the bar tenders looked nervous and warned the band not to be loud. What the band felt like was a “2” the place was acting like it was an “11”.
Once the music started, the back and forth of Wes and Zack was simply awesome. The basic differences in their playing style, made for a really wonderful collaboration between two talented musicians. Wes is all about long notes, distortion, and noise; Zack is more classically blues, unusual chords, and deep notes that I would normally associate with a bass. This isn’t to say that Wes isn’t talented at classic blues or that Zack isn’t able to distort notes – but the mash up of their two basic styles was sonically perfect.
On top of that, because the amps were turned way down, Wes’s voice was much clearer and easier to hear than the other night we saw them. It was great to be able to hear all that Wes is capable of .
So next time the Wes Jeans Band is through, don’t miss the chance to support great guitar driven music. http://www.wesjeans.com/
And Zack plays in a variety of places in the 850, check him out at zackrosicka.com