MELVIN TAYLOR AND THE SLACK BAND at the Silver Dollar, November 18. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 250. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
the way chicago blues guitarist Melvin Taylor was showboating -- fingering fancy pull-offs from both sides of the neck and using a loose loop of cord to spank belches from his strings -- it seemed like I'd arrived just in time to catch the third encore.As it turned out, this was just the first number, and by the second, Taylor had begun soloing with his incisors. That the beeleeba-leebba-blabba licks he played in between the circus moves didn't change very much from tune to tune wasn't a great concern to the Silver Dollar crowd roaring themselves hoarse.
The important thing for Taylor was that it looked and sounded like he was doing something really difficult with his hands while standing frozen in place.
For a bluesman who fancies himself part of the younger, more progressive element seeking to take the form beyond the 12-bar shuffle conventions, Taylor's set list, leaning toward familiar standards like Drowning On Dry Land and Got My Mojo Workin', seemed awfully conservative.
His aptly named Slack Band, the rhythm duo of thumb-popping bassist Ricky Nelson and drum whacker Diego Lopez, offered little beyond timekeeping.
For the second set, Taylor switched from his semi-acoustic Ibanez to a gold Stratocaster, but other than that it was more of the same soulless pedal-pushing wank.