Jai Malano, Tomar & the FCs, Honey Made
Stubb’s, Jan. 7
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Jan. 12, 2018
Stubb's closed out Free Week smoking more than brisket.
Ambushing the small inside stage as a 10-piece, the outfit formerly known Mama K & the Shades blew through psychedelic funk jams. The recent departure of frontwoman Kelsey Garcia left the freshly monikered Honey Made anchored by duo Chris and Willie Barnes, smooth-voiced drummer and frenetic frontman, respectively. Ms. Mack added raw soul power to the batch of new tunes as horns and dual percussion torqued through breakdowns into Latin and Caribbean rhythms.
The explosive start left Best Blues/Soul/Funk Austin Music Awards nominee Tomar & the FCs with a tough act to follow. The quintet laid out tight Southern soul, leaning heavily on Tomar Williams' charisma. The singer worked up a sweat across the full stage, shouting through opening blast "Shine Your Light" and the anthemic "Rise Above." Closing rockabilly romp "Heart Attack" unleashed the band at its best.
Though the crowd thinned considerably for powerhouse vocalist Jai Malano, the singer laid into a deep, gritty groove to close the night. As impressive as Malano's voice, guitarist Travis Deardorff lit his own blues sparks on cuts like "Hound Dog."