John Lisi and Delta Funk


April 04, 2004

John Lisi's small club demeanor served him well on Sunday night at d.b.a. It cleared some of the stuffiness out of the faux New York venue.

John Lisi responded to applause by humbly muttering, "Thank you, kindly." He made sure every tipper understood his appreciation and the good mojo coming to them from such a gift. He wasn't afraid to invite the girls watching from the corner room to "come in, don't be afraid."

The last time I saw Lisi he was showing off his slide-guitar chops Thursdays at Tabby Thomas' blues joint five years ago in Baton Rouge. Lisi still had his talent Sunday, but he's focused it more towards his songwriting and gelling with a set band. With hard time courtesy of drummer Dave Waldrop and perfectly executed rock hooks, the band sure was tight. Bassist Scott Jackson rounded out the trio.

Lisi mixed blues, funk and rock so well that I don't want to put a label on what he did. He made people dance, for one. His burning slide guitar solos coupled with sexy grooves even made Waldrop headbang.

Lisi wasn't afraid to reveal his influences. He threw in a funkier version of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" The song was more upbeat than the original but unfortunately lacked the soul of Diddley's version. His band also did an Allman Bros. song, and on other numbers it wasn't hard to hear Jimmy Page coming out of his guitar.

Lisi often flew to blues guitar heaven by positioning his slide parallel with the strings low on the fret, but he wasn't afraid to just rock the place. Lisi's confident rap-like swagger was inspiring, and a well-placed bass solo by Jackson was appreciated.

Lisi was a good showman/businessman. He was dressed in a suit, had a banner above his band and even brought a black and white carpet to the gig.

Lisi's songwriting is getting almost as good as his predecessors. Go see his band before they get too big for your britches.

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