Steve Morse Band - Variety Playhouse


With my son and nephew in tow this time, it was off once again to Variety Playhouse for a concert. The question looming for weeks was, given the general bohemian nature of Little Five Points, what might we encounter on Halloween?

Unfortunately, there was a light rain, and Little Five Points was less of a show than I had hoped for my uninitiated charges. We did, however, encounter two "V"s (for Vendetta) strolling the street and handing out cleverly designed cards.


The symbolism only became apparent after checking the card's contents later - a rather strident stand against Scientology. Little Five Points is an area which is open to about everything, so it was surprising to encounter something to the negative.

We arrived early, finding the optimal spots at the stage left already occupied, so we stood at the center. Note to anyone who wants to watch guitar players do their thing up close: Always go to the left of the stage. Whenever they do solos, they usually have to stay with a few steps of their effects pedals. If you're off to the right (facing the stage), you're out of luck. I knew this, and I should have sacrificed stage front for a respectable standing 2nd or 3rd row to the left.

The show started on time with David Jacobs-Strain, playing solo acoustic. The show began with a couple covers of old Robert Johnson and Son House blues songs, with sterling slide guitar work. It was an enjoyable set that also included several originals, with a confident stage presence by a young artist.

Steve Morse is hardly a household name for average music enthusiasts. At 55, he's withstood the test of time, from his days with the Dixie Dregs beginning in the late 1970's, to touring with Deep Purple for the

Steve Morse - Variety Playhouse 2009 Steve Morse - Variety Playhouse 2009

last 15 years, to doing side work with his own group. However, those "in the know" hold him in high regard, and there were at least two other parents with their aspiring Satrianis and Vais who were in the floor area.

Morse's music blends rock, jazz, country and other elements to form something that falls short of "accessible" but has Dave LaRue - Variety Playhouse 2009more appreciative value than just a technical showpiece. It was a generally explosive set, with fast action amongst the trio. The band includes Morse on guitar, long term sideman Dave LaRue on bass, and Van Romaine on drums, without vocals. This was their 15th show in 17 nights, and the final night of their tour. Morse is obviously the featured member, but bass is featured throughout the songs, not to mention several worthy opportunities to play solos. The drummer also played at a frenetic pace, but was necessarily a backdrop to the fireworks up front.

Amidst the screaming solos, quieter moments were taken when Morse and Pictures 001LaRue played two classical guitar songs, with Morse on acoustic and LaRue on electric bass. Watching the fretwork at this type of show is as amazing as the sounds, and I only wish we could have seen more from our vantage point.

Sadly, I afterwards found out that my son rarely heard the morsepickguitar, but he at least enjoyed one of the best bassists around. As a bonus, we each scored a pick - my son and I from Morse and my nephew from Dave LaRue. I've seen Morse before, and I won't hesitate to see him again.

Here's a clip from a show last week - a slow burner:


  1. Hi, I am one of those V-people. Regarding Scientology, openmindedness is a good thing. Please, never let go of it. But should you ever be inclined to become involved with Scientology, I hope you'll remember this little card and actually research the validity of our stance.

    You may not understand, you may not be aware, you probably think otherwise, but we are human rights activists.

    If only you knew, if only you would read the stories of those who escaped from behind the inward facing barbed wire and motion detectors of Scientology compounds, you would understand why we are doing this. In particular if you read the stories of those of were only kids.

    In fact, you might well be handing out cards yourself.

    (you'll also loose quite a bit of faith in the American justice system, I am afraid I have to add).

    Openmindedness is good. So is critical thinking.

  2. lovely post...thanks for sharing....wanna listen some music.. do & listen music online at koffii.

  3. To anonymous, I actually wasn't commenting on the content, only the surprise of it given the nature of the Little Five Points area. L Ron Hubbard was a good (or better) science fiction writer, but as a source of ultimate truth... no. I have only to listen to a few minutes of a few celebrities to shake my head, even while recognizing that everyone is searching for answers, whether it be theology, psychology, self-help books du jour, psychic readings or... the list goes on. Whatever. I respect your voice and commitment.