Who: Tab Benoit, JD Simo
Where: The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA
When: Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022
Next: Benoit and Simo perform at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Sept. 4; they perform together at Felton Music Hall in Felton, CA on Sept. 5; and at The Sofia in Sacramento, CA on Sept. 6
Review by Robert Kinsler
Photography by Bob Steshetz
|Tab Benoit performing at The Coach House.|
Based on how early the capacity crowd filled The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Thursday night (Sept. 1, 2022), the world still loves a great guitar hero. The good news for concertgoers who came to the legendary venue last night was they got to see two guitar masters on the same bill.
|Tab Benoit, on left, performing at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA.|
Grammy-nominated headliner Tab Benoit and opener JD Simo each brought a wealth of talent to the stage, with the Houma, Louisiana-born Benoit and Nashville-based Simo both having the benefit of being armed with winning lead voices along with their respective roles as guitar greats (they also each happened to be backed by a tight two-man rhythm section).
|Tab Benoit at The Coach House.|
Among this writer's favorite offerings were his cover of Buddy Miller's "Shelter Me," a fully reworked Delta take on the Buffalo Springfield classic "For What It's Worth," Cajun rocker "We Make A Good Gumbo" and the playful "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It," the latter showcasing Benoit's soulful lead vocals.
|Tab Benoit, far left, brought guitarist JD Simo to the stage for his encore.|
Benoit and his band played the roaring "Night Train" as an encore, with Simo joining the trio on stage and unleashing some stylish slide guitar work early in the 10-minute cut. Benoit unleashed his lead guitar work as well, helping propel the Southern rocker to a dramatic close.
|JD Simo, on the far left, performing with his band at The Coach House.|
Simo brought a more experimental approach to the night, with his far-flung work bridging several styles of blues and rock to a 30-minute set.
|JD Simo at The Coach House on Sept. 1, 2022.|
His selections ranged from the beautiful "One Of These Days" — with Simo's falsetto vocals recalling the late Curtis Mayfield — to the decidedly experimental "That's When You Know When You're Down" influenced by Captain Beefheart, and the set-ending heavy rocker "Know It All" (the latter from his latest album Mind Control) serving as a platform for Simo's incredible lead guitar dynamics.