By: Robert Cavuoto
It just goes to show in this day and age you don’t need pyro, monster video screens, smoke, and expensive set designs to put on one of the best rock shows. All that is needed is great songs and amazing performers – case in point – California Breed.
California Breed is an explosive new trio that includes Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fame on bass, Jason Bonham of Black Country Communion and the son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham on drums and a stellar newcomer, Andrew Watts, on guitar.
Together they are developing an exciting new breed of music with a lighter vibe and a fresh outlook designed to inspire!
Glenn told the pack crowd that Andrew is one of the best guitarists and songwriters he has ever worked with. That’s one incredible compliment! If Glenn is the voice of rock, Andrew is the guitar maestro!
Not only was he able to perform all the songs on California Breed’s debut CD flawlessly, after only two live shows, but managed to do it with unprecedented acrobatics, passion, and style!
Andrew also took leads vocals on “Spit You Out”, surprisingly he has a similar voice and vocal phasing as Glenn.
Jason is a premier drummer, second to none! While in New Jersey on the same night there was a fitting tribute to his late father, called Bonzo Bash. To no surprise the real tribute was here in New York with Jason who paid tribute to his Dad with two Zeppelin songs; “Immigrant Song” and “What is and What Shall Never Be” which he dedicated the latter to his father who would have been 65 on this very night.
With a tear in his eye, he got choked up while making the tribute, his performance was stellar not just on the Zeppelin tracks, but throughout the night.
I don’t know where to start with Glenn, he’s in his own realm of excellence. Though in his 60’s he exulted more energy, charisma, and vocal strength than any of the young bands he has inspired and influenced. He was a consumate professional and the epitome of a frontman. I never saw anyone as happy as he was to be on stage performing!
The crown jewel in California Breed’s armamentarium is a ballad called “All Falls Down”. It’s a beautiful written song with and eloquent lyrics and haunting harmonies on the chorus. Glen told the crowd that “ It’s a song about the human condition between life and death.” He then went on to tell us, “the songs is now yours to take and enjoy.”
During that performance, you could have heard a pin drop in the venue with chins on the floor and the hair on your hair on your arms standing straight up, it was awe inspiring. The two hours set include every song off the new CD like, “Sweet Tea”, Chemical Rain”, “The Gray”, and “Midnight Oil” plus the first song Glenn ever wrote for his 70’ band; Trapeze called “Medusa”, a monstrous riff driven song with tons of chord changes. The band closed the night with what else, but “Burn” from Deep Purple.
Even though their self-titled CD has only out 10 days, everybody at The Gramercy Theater knew all the words and sang the songs back to the band. He continually thanked his band and the crowd telling us that he felt the love in the room and had to bring Andrew back to his hometown for one of the two pivotal warm up shows.
The band was tight, the acoustics in the Gramercy theater was exceptional, and energy was high not only from the crowd but from the band. It was part concert and part storytelling.
Hopefully Glenn lives up to his promise that the band will tour the states in September. He told me on a recent interview, “In a trio, when one person over plays, the other two people have to under play and when two people over play, the other person has to under play. This environment is really hard work.” Glenn I think you all worked hard and played amazing!
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