Albert Cummings visited the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Mass tonight to launch a tour in support of his stellar new release No Regrets.
I had never had the pleasure of seeing Cummings play live but have anticipated this night for months. His new release is fantastic (it got a 5/5 review on our site). After giving the CD several spins my excitement mounted with the passing of time.
I must say he certainly lived up to his reputation and played all of the new tracks to perfection. Cummings is a lightning fast player and his band mates Karl Allweier (bass) and Warren Grant (drums) make for one potent trio.
By the time the night was over Cummings had played nearly a 3 hour set with only a 15 minute break in between. His interplay with the audience was very entertaining including a few sideshows going on during the course of the night. Albert Cummings is a polished and fiery blues player.
His technique is one that highlights his fingers moving at hyper speed, seemingly burning up the frets as he plays. At times he seems to overcompensate to fill in the sound but nevertheless each performance was very good and his voice is spot on for blues-rock. He made his way through several tracks including kicking off the night with the perfect blues number “Drink, Party and Dance” then launched into several other barn burners including “Glass House,” “500 Miles,” “She's So Tired,” “Checkered Flag,” “Mannish Boy,” “Cry Me A River,” “Sleep,” “Working Man,” “Party Right Here,” “Barrel House Blues” and “Lonely Bed.”Can this band pump out some songs! At times Albert would end a song by banging on his whammy bar then go right into the next track. They basically sounded like a locomotive going full steam ahead down the tracks with no end in sight for most of the evening.
There are always at least one or two memorable characters at a concert. This was reserved for the old dude dressed up as Frankenstein’s Bride (it’s that time of year again). He was dancing the night away and when Albert finally got a glimpse of him he began to smile and move over to the edge of the stage to egg him on so more. It worked, and someone from the crowd bellowed out “Get em’ up on stage!” Albert obliged the request and before we knew it we had a Halloween party set to the blues! Watching the guy trying get up to the stageand then back down over a railing was hysterical. He was all done up in his ankle length dress and everything else he was wearing…well it was a sight to behold and very entertaining.
I felt proud that this man is from the Berkshire’s and played with blues legends such as SRV’s Double Trouble on his previous releases. The guys that played with Stevie Ray don’t play with just anyone. That should give you an idea that Mr. Cummings has plenty of respect in the blues community. When you have the admiration of your peers everything else has a way of falling into place.
There was plenty of talent to take note of besides Cummings on this night. I have never seen a more animated and athletic drummer as I did tonight in Warren Grant and have to admit he was the most accomplished musician on stage. And to top it off he had a grin from ear to ear all night. This was obviously a man feeling complete joy for his craft. Karl Allweieron basswas stoic in comparison although his performance was exemplary. Towards the end of the second set both musicians had a chance to wow the crowd and step into the spotlight with extended solos.
I would like to thank all the volunteers that are always there at the Colonial to offer their time to serve the patrons. And a special thank you to Darren O’Brien of Encore Audio, who had quite the challenge dealing with Albert’s loud guitar and getting the mix down right. After two songs he had made a few adjustments to get things just right. Darren is another homeboy to be proud of. He is rapidly carving out his own little niche handling the sound at the Colonial.
Albert puts his heart and soul into a performance and if you have a chance to see him by all means do so. His next gig is at the Iron Horse in Northampton on November 3rd.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder MuzikReviews.com