Fun boy three

Eric McFadden Trio heats up Duffy’s

Eric McFadden

Eric McFadden

Photo By Tom Angel

Eric McFadden Trio Valentine Duffy’s Tavern

Just because it’s a Sunday night at Duffy’s and there’s an upright bass on the stage doesn’t mean there’s gonna be a jazz show. The instruments of the Eric McFadden Trio—McFadden on guitar, James Whiton on bass and Kevin Carnes on drums—are acoustic. But the visual is deceptive. What they unleash from those instruments sounds nothing like what one might expect—unless you’re one of the in-the-know fans of EMT, and there were a good number of them Sunday evening rocking out and shouting for familiar songs.

McFadden, with a sometimes-angry face, flying dreadlocks and a T-shirt that read “King Black Acid,” delivered song after furious song (including a timely, politically motivated “Rise of King George the 2nd") into which he injected his growling, dark vocals and lightning speed guitar solos. The guy definitely has some chops. From flamenco to Led Zep to Tom Waits, he’s clearly studied all kinds of guitarists, and he doesn’t shy away from taking the opportunity to show you what he knows.

Bassist Whiton supported McFadden’s madness with his phenomenally fierce and fast playing (both he and McFadden made liberal use of effects pedals and a sampler to jack up the level of wildness). Carnes, the drummer from Oakland with the nice smile, plays the hell out of the drums. On occasion, the trio will drop into a softer stretch of playing, and Whiton will pull out the bow, producing some pretty interesting effects-enhanced sounds.

Chico’s own Valentine warmed up the crowd with a hard-rockin’ opening set.