GA-20 | photo by Ellen C Miller
GA-20’s raw power and charisma brings down the house at NON-COMM
A passion for the blues and a knack for showmanship loosened up nervous feet on the World Cafe Live dancefloor.
- Fairweather Friend
- Dry Run
- Easy On The Eyes
- Double Gettin'
- Give Me Back My Wig
Folks may say rock and roll is dead, that every 1-4-5 blues progression has been creatively exhausted and picked clean to the bone. GA-20 responds to those remarks with a cranked amp and a cracked decibel meter. Formed in 2018 by guitarists Pat Faherty and Matthew Stubbs, the band is tethered by an undying, passionate love for the blues. That love came to life on the lounge stage of World Cafe Live, where the trio helped close out a successful first day of NON-COMM.
Before the trio exploded onto the stage, a forewarning announcement promised over the loudspeakers: “Philadelphia, get ready for raw blues, real rock and roll, GA-20.” Despite this promise, the crowd was blown back in shock when GA-20 ripped out “Fairweather Friend,” the opening song off their 2022 Crackdown LP. Instantly, the audiences’ eyes widened, bopping their heads and moving their hips to the timeless riffs and grooves. Unapologetically splitting ears, the band’s lack of a bassist doesn’t faze the group in the slightest, instead using this lack of low end as an excuse to play louder, and as an homage to both early blues artists such as Buddy Guy and contemporary blues lovers such as The Black Keys. However, it was not simply a passion for blues that captivated the audience, but an undeniable charisma on stage that loosened up nervous feet on the dancefloor. Explaining their second song, “Dry Run,” lead singer Faherty laughed at its inception, telling the tale of a girl that he thought liked him and how in the end she was only practicing her flirting skills. In typical GA-20 fashion, the band then proceeded to kick in teeth with seething riffs on both the aforementioned “Dry Run” and the exhilarating “Easy On The Eyes.”
Despite playing for barely 20 minutes, by their closing song it was a miracle they had the energy to continue with such ferocity. The band ended their set with a final tribute to the blues time-honored traditions with a cover of Hounddog Taylor’s 1971 song “Give Me Back My Wig.” The trio’s charisma expelled from the stage, moving the audience members to dance as both Faherty and Stubbs jammed side by side, channeling Robert Johnson with each blue note and guitar lick. They thanked the audience for coming and disappeared, leaving a scorched trail of fuzz and feedback behind them. However, for those that want another taste of GA-20’s raw power, catch the end of their U.S spring tour with shows on May 6th in Tampa, Florida and on May 26th in their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts; the band’s full tour dates can be found at their website.