Story and Photos by Tom Collins
Edited by Scott Johnson
The SugarHouse Casino had a sweet way to start the weekend with Hot Rock’n Blues to warm up a cold friday night! Young guitar legend Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band brought their show to Philly in support of his latest LP, “Lay It On Down” on Concord Records. This is already his 8th studio album at only 40 years old. His first being “Ledbetter Heights” at the age of 18! It had been some time since I had last seen KWS perform Live and this was my first time at this venue. I was definitely looking forward to this night!
Philadelphia has many great music venues throughout the city. SugarHouse Casino is certainly making a run at them, bringing in Top name entertainment in Music, Boxing, Comedy and more. I was very pleased by the staff and security when I entered the casino. Everyone I spoke to was friendly and accommodating. This isn’t something you find at every venue. The room itself is a intimate setting that holds about 900+ people, with not a bad seat in the room. Oh, and did I mention FREE Parking? Seriously! In Philadelphia? You can’t beat the SugarHouse for comfort and ease when it comes to seeing a show.
Kenny and his long time partner, guitarist, and lead vocalist Noah Hunt strolled onto the stage with the rest of the band. The stark contrast between Kenny’s bright blonde hair and Noah’s jet black hair was the only thing about the duo that doesn’t go together perfectly! Together, Kenny’s guitar playing and Noah’s soulful vocals are pure magic. Noah handles most of the lead vocals and plays a pretty mean guitar himself. Meanwhile, Kenny likes to lean back and rip into incredible Blues riffs and solos. It takes amazing talent to make a Fender Strat sound so good. The capacity audience was enjoying every note, every word sung, showing it with roaring applause after each song.
KWS tore through a set list spanning his career like a wild fire! Of course saving his biggest hit single, “Blue On Black” for the encore. But before he was about to let this audience leave back out into the cold Fall night, He heated things up with his final song, a rendition of “Voodoo Child”! As if channeling his mentor and idols Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix, Kenny was in a guitar god trance! It’s not often that you get to witness performances like this. For the approximately 900 at Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino, they were certainly the lucky ones!!! KWS Band has a few more dates on this tour, hitting Oklahoma and Florida. Pick up his latest LP “Lay It On Down” and or catch up on past music by ordering on kennywayneshepherd.net or on iTunes!