There’s one word for Carolyn Wonderland’s show last night at Joe’s Pub: Tasty.
When a guitarist truly lives and loves what they do, it shows, and it was shining like a beacon during Wonderland’s performance. To say that her live show is better than the record is no exaggeration. And her tone … hell yeah!
With minimal accompaniment from Rob Hooper on drums and Cole El-Saleh on keys/bass keys, Wonderland showed her prowess on guitar, lap steel and (surprise!) trumpet. From down-and-dirty blues to a New Orleans romp to a slow and easy guitar wail-fest, Wonderland just slayed.
Her vocal chops were right on as well -- a growl, a sweet little twitter or, a heartfelt wail slid like butter from her lips. My only criticism was not of her ability, but of the mic stand that kept slipping down … an unwelcome distraction in an otherwise perfect set. Oh, and I did miss having a bass player present … not because El-Saleh couldn’t deliver. Just because I like watching a sweaty bassist thump it out!
I previously reviewed Wonderland’s album, and it was truly a pleasure to see cuts from that and other work masterfully delivered with heart, soul and a little tequila for good luck.
She’s touring straight through the fall. If you want to hear some plump and juicy blues guitar, check her out. I promise you won’t be sorry ….
Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Acoustic Bass Amps, Agile Partners, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the lead singer for the rock band Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.