Tres guitara

King, Larkin and Fox show what guitar playing is all about

Review: Chico Performances presentation of La Guitara: Featuring Kaki King, Patty Larkin and Mimi Fox. Sat., Feb. 25 at Laxson Auditorium

They took the stage together—three pretty damn powerful ladies who play some pretty damn powerful guitar.

Dark-haired, impishly cute indie-experimental guitarist Kaki King, red-haired, honey-voiced folk guitarist Patty Larkin, and the gray-haired spunky sister of jazz guitar, Mimi Fox, came to Laxson Auditorium for the first (and hopefully not the last) La Guitara tour. The brainchild of Larkin, the project was created to focus attention on the contributions of women to the “history of modern guitar.”

As soon as the picking and strumming began, their individual styles blended to form a cohesive sound that was as unique and interesting as the women playing it. Telling stories and joking throughout the show, the women maintained a connection with the audience.

During shows that involve different musicians taking the stage, time is often lost to tuning instruments and the integral connection between performer and audience is broken. This didn’t happen, and I silently applauded this small detail. Fox, King and Larkin took the stage individually and played mini-sets then sat in with each other as a threesome.

Fox sure can play a guitar, but my attention waned. Her jazzy sampling of Billy Holiday’s “But Beautiful” finally brought me out of my staring-at-the-guitar-reflections-on-the-ceiling reverie.

Next up was Kaki King: The show stealer. Some people are just born with innate musical genius and she’s one of them. Mesmerizing chord progressions and her crazy percussion on the body of her acoustic kept me entranced. And the slide guitar? Brilliant. She’s funny, too—her self-deprecating humor keeping the audience giggling with her. And King’s lap steel and solo pieces were the best of the show.

Larkin’s set was filled with good, solid, bitchin’ folk guitar. Her deep, sensual voice accompanied the hard strummin’ goodness. I was impressed by all three, but King knocked my socks off.