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Concert Review: Wayne Hancock in Cleveland

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Wayne Hancock
The Beachland Tavern
Cleveland, Ohio
August 7, 2006

Seems no one wants to go to a concert these days. In recent conversations with several bands, the same theme holds true — people aren’t showing up. Blame it on gas prices, blame it on apathy, blame it on whatever — the bottom line is people aren’t showing up.

Now you would think that this lack of patronage would be doubly so on a Monday. No band wants to play the dreaded Monday night, unless you’re Wayne Hancock playing the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern in Cleveland on August 7.

Starting early and finishing late, Wayne played to a full house rolling through old favorites and even breaking out new material from his soon to be released album Tulsa.

I’ve seen Wayne several times but something was different this night. Wayne was electric. Wayne was having the time of his life!

“We once played with this band from Nebraska I’d never heard of called the Black Hawks. We called them the Black Cocks,” Wayne said to a laughing crowd. “The people out in the crowd were like ‘You suck!’ we were like ‘Fuck you!’ The promoter told me I’d never play there again. I asked him if I could get that in writing! And here we are in Cleveland, Ohio!”

Wayne told stories of getting arrested in California, of almost dying in Washington D.C., but for the help of his good buddy J.B. Beverley, and oh by the way, could we all make sure we didn’t repeat any of what he said to his momma.

“Don’t matter how old you are. Momma’ll kick your ass she finds out you been screwing up,” Wayne said.

As per a normal Wayne concert, Wayne drove his band, playing what they wanted without the aid of a set list while entertaining suggestions from the crowd, even when the crowd didn’t have the right song.

“Play 'Double A-Johnny'!” someone hollered.

“DOUBLE-A JOHNNY?! Hell I don’t think we wrote that one yet brother,” Wayne replied.

Like a Texas tornado that verves right and you think you’re safe… only to realize a few minutes later it’s back on path and you’re about to be bowled over, the boys took a quick break and then got back on the path. Wayne, bass player Chris Darrell, and guitarist Eddie Beibel weren’t done with this crowd yet.

About mid-way through the second set, Wayne called up Gina Gallina, currently working with the tour selling merchandise as well as an accomplished musician on her own.

“Hey Gina, why don’t you come on up here and sing these folks some songs!” Wayne called.

Reluctantly Gina took the stage and sang about four numbers. Its not often that an entertainer blows me away in just a few songs. Ms. Gina’s voice had a smooth velvety timbre that grabbed your spine and sent chills in every direction. Her version of Jimmie Rodger’s “California Blues” is easily one of the sexiest sounding renditions these ears have ever heard.

On a sad note, this is the final tour for outstanding bassist Chris Darrell, who leaves the band to begin college. Make sure you catch Wayne but make sure you catch him while Chris is still with the band!

While you're checking out Wayne, make sure to get out there and support live music! Hitting the club or bar or wherever a band happens to be playing — it's a pretty good bet what you'll get from the band is tons better then anything television has to offer, even on a Monday night.

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