Surfin the Mast
(Thanks J Filich of Redcurbs Music)
For the first heats of the Bowl Contest Lord Cherry gave way to a quartet of pirates
that call themselves Black Mast. These guys truly looked fresh off the boat (from
Menlo Park)... which for me added to their appeal. Older sailors know how to sail,
and older players know how to play!
Black Mast is a heavy metal crew influenced by Black Label Society and Disturbed.
They played a mix of originals and some very well done heavy covers of Zeppelin,
AC DC, as well as others. While I can tell these guys are a great bar band, they
were a lot more than that.
The Captain in my opinion was Johnny Bayless, who played a great guitar. His tone
is chunky and powerful, but he avoids eating up the other members' tones (we have
all heard that). His leads were not just fast and flashy. He had great note selection
and the emphasis was on the sounds he was producing instead of just playing as
fast as he could. Howard Fergersons vocals were raspy and heavy when needed
and bluesy other times on such covers as Tush. He was a great fit, and the band is
in good hands with him at the mic.
|But what really made me respect this motley crew was there over all sound. This was aided greatly by the
sound of Mark Nunez's Bass and the precision of Brain Vaughn on drums. Sometimes during guitar solos
the bass doesn't fill the body needed for the song to hold its shape or drive. I was so impressed with how full
the bass and drums sounded when they were left naked while Johnny whaled on his Les Paul. Nunez and
Vaughn just did there job so well, and trust me after 20 years in the music scene around here I know good
crew members are hard to find.
The Mast also used some very cool visual aides such as a robotic crow and a dancing skeleton roamed in
the crowed that was controlled remotely by a mate that was below deck. So they have a sense of humor as
well. I hope to have a beer in hand next time I catch them at The Quarter Note in Sunnyvale on June 11,
2011. Great beer drinking music.