The first time I saw Black Joe Lewis was at a Christmas party at the Granada Theater in Dallas about six or seven years ago. He wasn’t signed to a label, and I remember my friend Mike Schoder, who owns the venue, was raving about this new guy from Austin who sounds like James Brown crossed with the White Stripes. I was completely blown away. With his band The Honeybears, these guys combined blues, soul, and garage rock into one hell of a powerful live show.
Fast forward several years and three albums later they continue to do just that. Touring in support of their latest release Electric Slave, Black Joe Lewis has dropped the Honeybears and taken the guitar up a notch. “Electric Slave is what people are today, with their faces buried in their iPhones and the only way to hold a conversation is through text,” Lewis explains in the album’s press release. It’s bound to be on many end-of-year top album lists and rightfully so. It’s a bit less heavy on the funk but still a formula for sounds that only Lewis is capable of.
This night at the Fillmore, though, would be a different type of show as Lewis had broken his foot and was kicking out the jams from a chair. Nonetheless, it didn’t seem to faze the audience or the energy in the legendary ballroom. Highlights from the show included the new single “Come to My Party” as well as classic material “Sugarfoot” and the crowd pleaser, “Bitch, I Love You.” Another highlight was the surprise guest on tenor sax, Steve Mackay (Stooges, Violent Femmes), who stepped in for a few.