Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears Bring Passion To A Sold-Out Turf Club

Sometimes, I forget just how spoiled I am. I can go to just about any show I want and not have to worry about said shows selling out because, quite frankly, I’m on the list. That’s not a flex, but just the way that I can do this night after night while keeping a roof over my head. I was reminded of my fortune as I walked up to The Turf Club on Saturday night. Whereas I had no worries about getting in, the sidewalk was littered with people asking for any extra tickets– anything to get into this hot ticket show. I felt a bit bad as I breezed past them and got into the venue, even though I knew nothing about what I was about to experience. I like to call this feeling concert bloggers guilt, and although at some shows this can last well into the night for me, it didn’t last long as I made my way to the front of the club, took my spot right in front of the stage, and was treated to the magic that happened on Saturday night. Although the opening act, Shane Guerrette, was clearly a young kid, there was something timeless and classic about his opening performance on Saturday night. I loved how he took his time with each note and song, letting his notes hang in the air for just the perfect amount of time. Stylistically, Shane’s music was different from my standard cup of tea. It was bluesy rock with an emphasis on the blues portion. It wasn’t intense, it wasn’t flashy, it was just good old-fashioned bluesy rock with smooth and dynamic vocals floating on top of every lick of notes. It was pretty amazing to me that Shane came off as a bit soft-spoken and never had to ask the audience for their attention yet, within the first couple of songs, all conversations had seized, and I realized my personal space had dwindled as the rest of the audience inched closer to the stage. Another amazing thing was Shane’s backing band. Like Shane, they were all stunning musicians yet were clearly only there to enhance Shane’s performance. Instead of a battle for the spotlight, the band members allowed Shane to take the driver’s seat throughout the set but, at the same time, they refused to stay in the background. It was subtle, but there were moments with backing vocals and a couple of drum fills here and there that really added a sparkle to an already dazzling set. From what I can tell, Shane is a fairly new name to the scene, but he’s making some giant waves. Saturday was his first time in the Twin Cities, and he only has his debut album ‘Here’s Hoping’ out there right now. That being said, he is already touring with some heavy hitters (Saturday proves my point), and the way all conversations after the set quickly turned to, “Who was that kid?!” told me all that I needed to hear. I just saw Shane Guerrette in a small, intimate show in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Only people in attendance on Saturday will be able to say that the next time he comes to town, he will have already surpassed the more intimate venue side of the scene. As I mentioned, Shane Guerrette was opening for a heavy hitter on Saturday night. That heavy hitter was the one and only Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears are not a new name to the scene. Their bluesy rock sound has been reigning supreme since this Texas-based act started in 2007. It didn’t take long for this band to start reaching for the stars as they played at Lollapalooza and Austin Citi Limits Music Festival in 2008. That’s a quick rise to fame if you ask me and also, sadly, a sign of a flash in the pan. I’ve seen it before– acts coming out of nowhere, hitting giant festivals, only to disappear within the next couple of years. But that’s not the case with Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. They are here to stay, and being able to see why up close and personal was nothing short of a treat. Obviously, this trio revolves around Black Joe Lewis. His guitar-playing style is captivating. Honestly, the word captivating doesn’t do it justice. It’s so much more than that. Again, his bluesy style wasn’t my normal cup of tea, yet there I was, upfront and center and frozen. I was completely in awe with how I saw his fingers dance along his guitar like they weren’t even connected to his body. You could see that he felt each note, not just played them. There were small smiles here and nods there. You could tell that, although this music was all written and has been played time and time again, Black Joe Lewis was completely in the zone and loved creating the music he was giving the audience. Like Shane’s performance, although Black Joe Lewis’s two band members never tried to steal the spotlight, the set would have been very hollow without them. The drummer and bassist added the perfect amount of energy and intricacies to the set to really be the icing on the cake. The connection and talent of the three men on stage on Saturday night was nothing short of staggering. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears may not be on festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits (there’s some crazy background about industry connection gone sour, but that’s a story for another day and one that would be best told by Black Joe Lewis), but the way the audience treated him on Saturday night was like royalty, and it was well-deserved.