red lights

Return of the Guitar Hero

Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush
House of Blues
Chicago, IL
August 16, 2001
Frank Marino
Frank feels the electricity throughout.

Story and Photo by Tony Bonyata

Stepping out from an excessively long absence from the music business, except for a few select performances from last year, guitarist extraordinaire Frank Marino unleashed his heavily blues-based psychedelic rock on a loyal legion of fans at the House of Blues last Thursday evening.
In a show spanning over three hours, Marino, looking fit with his trademark long locks, ran through numbers that reached back to his middle '70s catalog and up to a couple of tracks from his latest album, "Eye of the Storm."
After almost three decades the comparisons to Jimi Hendrix have become almost tiresome, but that didn't seem to stop him from opening with an awe-inspiring cover of Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile" and later a bluesy rendition of "Red House." While obviously paying tribute, Marino gave these classic numbers a life of their own as he fluidly pulled blistering new sounds from the strings of his guitar while his snakeskin boots pounced on his array of effects pedals, morphing sounds from his stringed instrument into noises that up until now have only been heard from Mother Nature in a mood.
Mahogany Rush cohorts, rhythm guitarist Mick Layne, bassist Peter Dowse and drummer Josh Trager, laid down a rock-solid backdrop of rhythm throughout the evening for Marino to splash on an array of colors and textures with his passionate vocals and searing guitar phrasings that moaned, shouted and cried.
Perfoming a few old favorites from his back catalog such as "The Answer," from "Mahogany Rush IV," "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" and "Strange Universe," as well as a scorching version of "He's Calling," from "Eye of the Storm," Marino later added elements of jazz on a couple of lengthy jams, while throwing in a couple of Santana and Allman Brothers licks for good measure.
Despite the fact that some of the jams ran on a bit too long, periodically slowing down the pace of the show and restricting the time to squeeze in many other crowd pleasers, it was a price worth paying to see one of rock's greatest guitarists back on the stage again, doing what very few have ever been able to.

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