Austin, Texas-based Arc Angels came to L.A. with enough (justifiable) buzz to stop a charging bull.
Band, featuring Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton (the rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble), ahead-of-his-time guitarist/vocalist Charlie Sexton and bluesman Doyle Bramhall, packed the sweltering Roxy for two shows.
The evening’s second show opened with “Graceland,” a non-album track written and sung by Sexton. Like many of the evening’s songs, there was a Stevie Ray Vaughn-like groove.
Direct comparisons to Vaughn, though, are unfair. On top of the blues-based rhythms are layered the very distinct singing and guitar-playing styles of Bramhall and Sexton.
Bramhall’s more traditional sound and Sexton’s ’90s-style guitar approach created a satisfying contrast that is the group’s ace in the hole.
Songwise, Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel,” the ’70s-riffin’ “Spanish Moon” and “Sent by Angels” (featuring an appearance by Rolling Stones collaborator Ian McLagen) were standouts.
Bramhall’s pickless guitar jam on John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” also was a highlight of a show that points to considerable success for the Arc Angels, a band that’s impossible not to cheer.
Opener Sass Jordan and her band was also most impressive. Playing a half-dozen cuts from her current “Racine” album as well as the James Gang’s “Funk
49,” Jordan was the ideal warm-up for the Arc Angels.
The barroom piano, Black Crowes-ish “Make You a Believer” and the powerful, Alannah Miles-like “Time Flies” were the strongest tunes in a momentum-building set that was soulful in spirit and tight in delivery.
Like a latter-day Tina Turner, Jordan is a down-and-dirty rock-and-boogie singer who takes to the stage with a great deal of ease and character.