Black Joe Lewis Exclusive Interview + Live [REVIEW]

Live Review + Photos: Amber Davis

Let’s just get it out there, that the show at Mercy Lounge for Black Joe Lewis was something to remember. 

But, before we get into more details, we need to discuss the opening band - Bad Cop. Last time we saw Bad Cop, they destroyed the stage at East Nashville Underground - literally. They crashed their guitars, jumped off objects around the room, and kicked over the drum set. This action set a twitter tirade with one of the managers of Mercy Lounge. 

With that said, Bad Cop’s performance seemed tense. We could feel that they wanted to jump around and crash things on the floor. Bad Cop is post-punk, their music feeds off on that high energy and the audience was just not giving them that much needed feedback. As a punk listener, we felt the need to crash into people and start a circle pit or at least move. However, the majority of the audience just stood there and stared. This was very unfortunate and hopefully next time we see Bad Cop more people in the crowd will bounce off their incredible energy. It could have been the fact that most of the audience did not know of Bad Cop, their tirade past with one of the managers at the venue, or we could blame it on the fact that the audience members were ready to shimmy to the smooth jazz, guitar wailing mastermind - Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.  Even with mumbled lyrics, their melodies were sure to have anyone tap their foot or nod their heads.

Once Bad Cop left the stage with a tipped over tom drum and a crushed guitar still wailing on the floor, the lights dimmed for the next set.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears walked on the stage with the audience screaming on top of their lungs as if they were gods. Their set was dark and intimate with only a projector screen running behind them for some light. Blending together hypnotic jazz, soul, with classic rock Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears had us hooked. The audience jumped and danced till their hearts content as their much anticipated fandom dreams came true. As Black Joe Lewis wailed on his black and red electric guitar behind his head, with his tongue, and while doing a half split at the edge of the stage. It gave the energy in the room a intoxicating feel. Everyone was entranced by their talent and smooth jazz grooves. The Honeybears were also electric, we don’t think we saw their faces without a smile as they performed or watched the audiences enthusiastic reaction to them.

We caught up with Joe earlier in the week for a quick chat...

Electric Slave just came out and we love it.  Any specific single you are extra hyped about Black Joe Lewis fans hearing for the first time?

We've been playing some these songs for a while live so some have heard them already. But I think my favorite is Skulldiggin cause its different its about mind control through your TV.

The Heavy Fuzz Groove from Skulldiggin has a complete different feel from the modern 70's Funk and Soul vibe put together on Come To My Party yet they still work together. Did you have different genres and production ideas in mind before hitting the studio for this album?

Naw I just like to play a lot of different styles. And I listen to a lot of different styles. We like to not be pegged in any one genre.

You guys have FreeFest coming up next month in Maryland.  Any act you're looking forward to checking out or seeing again?

I haven't had a chance to check the line up but I'm sure it'll be cool.

What's your wild boar count for the year so far?  Any favorite hunting spots around Austin?

I got 3 this year but haven't had a chance to get out much lately cause of the record release. But I plan on going on a dove hunt when I get off tour in October. It's hard to find places to hunt since the Texas land owners are sort of an elite group of rich people. You gotta know some one or pay a lot of money. I plan getting my own land one day.

A lot of shows coming up through November.  Any specific gig you are stoked about playing?

I'm pumped about every gig I play. It's a blessing to get to do this.

The Electric Slave tour is still rolling strong with a stop at the Bowery Boston last night and the band's live spot tonight at Port City Music Hall in Portland, ME.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears ended the night in a two song encore. Leaving Mercy Lounge in a sweltering hot box and people mumbling under their breath “wow.”

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