Who: Gary Hoey, RDG, Full Blown Karma
Where: The Coach House
When: Friday, Dec. 19, 2014
Fans of virtuoso electric guitar and holiday music both had reason to celebrate at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Friday night, Dec. 19, 2014.
Gary Hoey brought his 19th annual Ho Ho Hoey Rockin' Holiday Tour to the venerable and brightly-decorated concert venue, delivering a fun-filled night filled with sterling versions of Christmas classics and a number of his own original gems. For more than 90 minutes, the New England-based singer-guitarist and his mighty two-man rhythm section provided the ultimate early Christmas gift for a capacity crowd that included a mix of generations.
Opening with an instrumental, hard rock-styled version of "Twelve Days of Christmas," the trio proceeded to mix things up throughout the rest of the fast-moving show. Never one to deliver the tunes by-the-numbers, an early highlight at Hoey's concert showcased surefire drummer Matt Scurfield during a well-timed and explosive break that allowed him to solo while the song continued its natural arc.
Not long after, "Deck the Halls" was bolstered by a heavy opening but proved to be more nuanced and morphed into "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" that reached a soaring finale.
Throughout the night, Hoey also featured songs from his most recent disc, 2013's "Deja Blues." The title track from that LP allowed Hoey to open with an extended opening solo showcasing his expect touch on his instrument, while later the playful and heavy blues rocker "Boss You Around" allowed him to display his power as a vocalist. "Stranger," another song off the album, was among the night's highlights with its mournful melody. He was gracious, thanked the crowd and shared heartwarming stories, and made sure to throw out guitar picks throughout the show.
|Hoey brought Christmas cheer|
to The Coach House
The night ended with a rousing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," Hoey and his band now wearing their Santa hats and the crowd fully engulfed in the holiday spirit.
Review: Robert Kinsler
Photos courtesy of Bob Steshetz