After the last echoes of the cacophonous din subsided in Anaheim's annual NAMM show Gary Hoey, Matt Scurfield and AJ Pappas took the stage at the Gaslamp Club in nearby Long Beach. An enthusiastic crowd filled the room as Hoey and band established a cool hypnotic groove with ethereal moans and wails from a very Pagey looking Les Paul . Once the crowd was entranced the groove exploded into a smokin' version of "Goin Down" that would make Jeff Beck proud. For the first part of the set Gary wielded the Gibson to great effect. I'd seen him before dominating with only a Stratocaster. Somehow the Les Paul brought out some different elements of his playing. Gary was using the new Fishman Fluence pickups both in the Gibson and later the Strat . He was obviously quite pleased with them and they/he did sound great.
Hoey shares a trait with players like Les Paul and Steve Vai (beyond just virtuosity) and that is having a sense of humour in his playing .During one of his original songs the groove settles in and "...do a little dance, make a little love..... get down tonight !" hits your ear (without a disco suit or coke spoon). An unlikely one-hit wonder from the eighties found new life as they reinvented Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe".
When Yngwie Malmsteen's drummer, Patrick Johansson was brought up to jam on Cream's "Sunshine of You Love" Gary demonstrated a professional "show must go on" attitude as his guitar lost sound right as the first verse began. He deftly assigned Johannson and bassist A.J. to jam while a team went into emergency diagnostics mode. There were certain echoes of Spinal Tap's bassist being locked in the pod while the team wrestled with getting sound back again. A Marshall was brought out a soon an un-fazed Hoey attacked the classic rock standard with a ferocity that Clapton hasn't displayed since his acid years.
Always a man of the people , Gary invited several of the Fishman contingent to sit in. A splendid time was guaranteed for all.
~ James H