by The Spin
In the immortal words of Sen Dog and B-Real, "When the shit goes down, you better be ready!" And by Jehovah, we were! By the time we arrived at The Zombie Shop for a not-quite-a-surprise show by Bombino — possibly the best guitarist on earth — we had a disco nap under our belts, a sixer in our hands and a whole bunch of Gold Bond in our ... shoes. Yes, when things get hot, The Spin puts Gold Bond in our shoes. We were ready, prepared to sweat it out to the sweet, sweet sounds of overdriven Strats and swirling psychedelic desert blues. Which we didn't do because the weather in Nashville is totally temperate and reasonable. Kidding! We lost more liquids than we knew we had.
We started our night early. Like, "Oh look, the bands are still loading in!" early. But that was cool, because it meant we got to sit down while our brains acclimated to the fact that we'd left our air-conditioned cocoon. And by "acclimated" we totally mean "We drank half our sixer" before Richie — who was doing double duty as Zombie Shop opener and FooBar closer last night — was done with his set of rockin' weirdness and Gravitron-ride homages. By the time fellow Spin faves Heavy Cream were done, we had finished that sixer, secreted that sixer, and were pumped on some punk motherfucking rock. The mood was set, our energy was high and our buzz seemed to be working well with our oncoming heat exhaustion.
And then it was time for the main event! The Spin had missed Bombino when he was in town to play the VFW a couple of months ago, so when we got word that not only had our favorite guitarist on the gawddamn globe been in town cutting a record with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, but also that he and his band of nomadic badasses would be playing at our favorite DIY venue ... well, we weren't gonna miss it for anything. And you know what? It was motherfucking amazing. The Spin let our hair down — or at least let it stick to our sweaty faces — and got lost in the sound in a way that usually takes a fistful of hallucinogens, zoning and droning out to killer tracks from Bombino's insta-classic album Agadez as well as new songs. Oh, and Auerbach showed up to throw down. And it might have been our favorite Auerbach appearance since we randomly walked into the Thickfreakness tour years and years ago. Just sayin'.
And since we're on a nostalgic trip, we're just gonna come out and say it: This might have been our favorite blues show since T-Model Ford played at the Slowbar. Damn, that was forever and a day ago, wasn't it? Then again, magical music of this variety doesn't really come along very often. We do, however, have the sneaking suspicion that this might become a regular thing — it looks like the whole world is going to get the chance to revel in this dude's sublime six-string abilities, because, oh yeah, he just worked with one of the world's biggest rock stars. While rock stars aren't always our thing, if they're going to make records with our favorite artists from obscure corners of the globe, then we are all aboard.
Bombino's band is the sort of high-precision, high-potency outfit that music critics dream about at night — the drums propulsive and dynamic, the bass so deep in the pocket that it might as well be coming from another galaxy, the rhythm guitar as solid as a neutron star. And when the intensely melodic and insanely prodigious guitar playing of Bombino himself weaves in, you've got one of the most entrancing, alluring and downright stupefying sets you'll hear all summer — we spent our night split between getting lost in the sound and staring slack-jawed at the dude, trying to figure out exactly what was going on with his fingers. Sounds like that don't happen very often in our world — even in a town full of guitar players — and seeing a dude who is clearly a master of his art form operating with such ease and beauty made for a perfectly surreal, sublime, sweaty night.