Scary Larry and friends lay down some big Louisiana blues at Sly’s.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
To see Scary Larry and the Monsters perform is to wonder what exactly is so damn scary.
It can’t be his fluid picking on electric guitar, which comes as he leans way back and closes his eyes – that’s the opposite of frightening, unless you’re talking scary nimble, or scary good.
It can’t be the size of his handlebar mustache that’s scary either – more like timelessly stylish – so maybe it’s the sheer size of the group that’s terrifying, at least for bar owners or festival organizers with suspect stage engineering.
That’s because Scary Larry and the Monsters pack the stage with enough instrumentalists to complete an entire baseball team (for those who don’t know a curveball from a catcher’s mask, that’s nine). Their saxophone players, part of a feisty horns section that includes a trombone and trumpet, could fill a taxi all by themselves.
That full stage translates to a full musical experience, says Sly’s entertainment director Jim McDowell. And he would know, as he’s often called on stage to sit in with groups ranging from the Dennis Murphy Band to The Sting Rays.
“It’s a big sound,” he says, “with a big horns section.”
That sizeable sound and its standout brass deliver what is often described as a swamp blues brand of music, a laid-back sister to straightforward blues. As such, it represents a bit of a return to Sly’s one-time signature approach.
“It’s like Louisiana roots,” McDowell says. “Sly’s was originally a blues-jazz club, and lately we’ve been going toward modern rock and R&B, so they’ll bring a little bit of that blues back.”
That sound earned Scary Larry and the Monsters the crown at Handy Entertainment’s Battle of the Bands in April, a spot at the Fillmore Jazz Festival last month and, now, their debut appearance on Cannery Row. The San Francisco/South Bay-based group draws much of its inspiration from Muddy Waters and B.B. King, but balances its most popular covers with a reservoir of originals. That should scare up just the kind of lively Saturday night Sly’s is known for.
SCARY LARRY AND THE MONSTERS play 9pm Saturday, Aug. 27, at Sly McFly’s, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey. Free. 372-3225, www.slymcflys.net/.