If you name your band after a Steely Dan song, you’ve already charted a course for greatness in my book. If you have Eric DiBerardino on bass, Jeremy Korpas on guitar and Corey Sheridan on drums, consider yourself signed, sealed and delivered.
DiBar, as he is affectionately known, instantly won us over when he graced our stage in years past with the sublime indie rock band, Go By Ocean. He is better known for his work with Tea Leaf Green. Korpas and Sheridan were making their Crazy Horse debuts when The Loyal Scam owned our stage on Saturday, August 18. Even though it had been at least 10 years since I’d seen Korpas perform with the San Francisco indie rockers Big Light, the reverberations of his guitar prowess still lingered on the fringes of my consciousness. Witnessing his heroics over the course of the night was like taking a quantum leap into the future.
The Loyal Scam only play a handful of shows each year because the members are busy with other projects and jobs that actually pay the rent. When it’s go-time, the chemistry they’ve established from years of collaboration is on full display. Opening with John Scofield’s deliciously funky, jazz flight “Hottentot” unveiled the mind-expanding excursion we were embarking upon. As songs continued to come at us – both covers and originals – the band was creating something completely fresh right before our eyes. This was three guys going inward, letting the moments breathe, embracing the space in between notes, listening to each other intently and challenging the audience in ways we don’t experience nearly often enough.
We planned on watching webcasts of the Phish festival called Curveball all weekend, live from upstate New York. Sadly the event was canceled. It was a welcome consolation that The Loyal Scam treated us to their interpretations of four Phish songs. “The Moma Dance” slayed the bouncy funk and “Rift” scintillated with old school urgency . “Punch You in the Eye” got the second set cracking and segued into Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” It was here when it seemed that the band’s instrumental phenomenon began to take over. We’re so accustomed to lyrics carrying the essence of a song across. When you’re familiar with a song and only have the melody to latch onto, it transmits a whole different impact.
We all know that a guitar can sing, but Korpas has mastered it in such a way that you can practically hear a phantom voice harmonizing through the mix. He has a tonal obsession like all the best guitarists and utilizes his palette of effects like Basquiat in his prime. Plus, he’s really fun to watch with his methodical construction of solos and animated eruptions. DiBar has a lovable stage presence in his own rite. Casually focused and perpetually amused, he is not shy about countering Korpas with a strummy, groove-centric approach on his bass. That leaves Sheridan to hold it down which he does on his own terms; coloring outside the lines with admirable finesse.
Progressing on to the Pink Floyd double whammy of “In the Flesh” into “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” we found ourselves staggering through a chunky rhythmic soup. It’s difficult to do justice to Pink Floyd without keyboards, yet The Loyal Scam’s take on these classics left little to be desired. One of the highlights of the show was the Genesis deep cut, “Follow You Follow Me.” Korpas reached his blissful psychedelic zenith with a solo that spiraled beyond the walls of the Crazy Horse, dancing down Commercial Street. Continuing on the path of escalation, Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” was so forceful, it might have brought John Bonham back from the dead. When the band was done, Korpas sat down on the edge of the stage and rested his head in his hands. He is in fact human after all.
Encapsulating Tyler Blue
If you have walked through the door during a show at the Crazy Horse over the last five years, you've probably been greeted by Tyler Blue. When we are truly moved by music, the feelings are hard to describe. Tyler's words crystallize emotions and illuminate reflections while bringing the spirit of a show back to life.