Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Mary Sledd

Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears

Emo's, Wednesday, March 12

Not that Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears are a blues band, but them unloading their soul revue on Austin's punk palace was certainly a change of pace. In fact, this early showcase covered all the bases, from a blistering guitar workout and horn-driven funk to a moment of testifying that brought out the Austin singer's inner Otis (Redding). Lewis never seemed totally at ease onstage, singing with his eyes closed and coaxing a guitar solo just a bit higher from down on his knees. The 26-year-old and his group of seven soulsters wasted little time, rattling off short and sweet bursts of R&B tempered with a youthful enthusiasm, always reverent of an era when this brand of music was new. It was no surprise, then, that they had hips shaking all over the place, a rare sight at Emo's. Ending with the big blues blare of "Please," Lewis threw down his guitar and took up a boxer's stance. The Honey Bears vamped in double time, then left in a sweaty heap. Their reception could've been stronger, but it was easy to see what the little girls understand.

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