Guitar Unbound

News paper review
NRC Handelsblad 9th of october 1995
Viktor Frölke (De ConcertZender radio, Amsterdam)

Gary Lucas is both, technician and musician.

It must be a dream for every novice (electric) guitarists. Just like Gary Lucas did in the Bimhuis, to freak out a whole evening, just alone on your favourite guitar, while people are paying to see you. Well it is OK that it stays with dreaming. Being one of the few, Lucas proofs to have enough technique, humour and ideas to keep peoples attention for a long period. Not only with squealing drawing-outs and vibrations, but also with simple and touchy folk songs.

About this technique: On a guitar Lucas is trying to get all the possible effects with electric transformers. Next to him on stage there is a small table with equipment looking like an opened television. 15 Pedals in front and two big amplifiers behind him. Especially the digital delay making loops is a toy which he loves. First setting a composition, pushing some buttons and than he starts playing possessed. Whenever he thinks it becomes too soft, he kicks more pedals and squeezes the strings showing a demonic smile on his face.

Happily he also owns an acoustic Gibson and an old steel guitar. Using these two instruments for dreamy but strong songs, already to be heard on the first solo CD Skeleton at the Feast (mostly recorded during a concert in Amsterdam 1990). Sometimes he is singing, but it would be better if he didn't. They keep pleasantly buzzing in your head, being played just plain.

Last year Lucas' group Gods and Monsters brought out the CD Bad Boys of the Arctic. Gods and Monsters only plays this kind of straight songs. In solo performance they strangely enough show up much better. Especially Police Dog Blues (played for Mark Fuhrmnan, like Gary mentioned in a dull way) and The Nightmare of History are great in their frugality.

Playing an encore, Lucas again demonstrated his electrical technique and indeed it is amazing what he comes up with.
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