Blue Notes

Last Night: Pete Anderson At Dan Electro's Guitar Bar

Pete Anderson Dan Electro's Guitar Bar May 2, 2011

Pete Anderson showed up a few minutes late Monday night. He'd gone to the address where he sent the posters for his show and discovered that was Dan Electro's owner Bob Edwards' home, not the club.

But once the GPS was dialed into the right location, Anderson and his ensemble put the pressure cooker on the stove and proceeded to let their hambone boil, so much so that by the fourth song of the first set Aftermath thought, "We love a guitar player who knows the way a whammy bar is supposed to be whammed."

We also thought that the former Dwight Yoakam collaborator and producer understands why they call it "playing" the guitar.

A bona fide master of the instrument, Anderson could have stood at the side of the stage separated from his band and let the spotlight rest on him as he tore the strings off. But as he opened the second set, he instead moved in tight with his still-developing band and traded significant looks with the pianist and bass player as they worked their way through a jazzy, funkadelic instrumental on a Johnny "Guitar" Watson-ish theme that segued into Dobie Gray's "The In Crowd" for a brief time.

Of course, Anderson took the moment to point at the crowd and mouth silently, "That's you." And the beautiful thing was that Anderson, grateful to have a good-sized crowd hanging on his every nuance on a Monday night, meant it.

In fact, he went so far as to joke that he and the band were just going to rent an apartment and move in. It probably wouldn't have worked in New York, but in Houston it was all the crowd needed to edge in a bit tighter and get their Pete on.

Anderson was well-received all night as he worked his way through tracks from his new Even Things Up and his last blues release, Working Class. It seemed half the musicians in town were standing around watching the Detroit native do a clinic on tasty picking, tone, groove, and wicked, wicked songwriting.

Because along the way, Anderson proved he's not just a guitar genius but a serious writer as he laid out terse lines like, "Midnight striking' in a town with no name/ Daylight breakin'/ Suitcase at my shoes /Still in love with you/ And I don't know what to do."

And how about "she drove all my credit cards/ To an early grave"? Yeah, Anderson can write a blues song.

Think about that for a while. We will be.

Personal Bias: We love anyone who sounds like Johnny "Guitar" Watson.

The Crowd: Mostly musicians and members of the Houston Blues Society.

Overheard In the Crowd: "You can just tell that a man who treats a guitar like that gives good orgasm."

Random Notebook Dump: Not one mention of Osama bin Laden. This crowd came to get its groove on.


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William Michael Smith