By Tom Baldino
This past Friday night JSJBF member venue, The Chubby Pickle, was the scene for a blues lover’s evening as the host act, The Incinerators paved the way for a band of rising stars on the local scene, The Outcrops. John Fernandez and the band kicked it off with a great set of covers and original tunes, a half dozen of which will appear on their upcoming CD, which they currently are hard at work on and are shooting for releasing in the first half of 2024. Highlights included the originals, “Help The Poor,” “Forget About You” and “Alabama Heartbreaker.” They always bring the energy and the full house in attendance showed their appreciation.
With the bar set high, The Outcrops took the stage and did not disappoint. Opening with Bill Withers’ “Kissing My Love,” they got into a great groove provided by the most recent addition to the band, Qaasim Munox, on a gorgeous six-string Ibanez bass and Max Adler on drums. Cassidy Rain’s voice was in fine form, and Bryan Schroeder laid down what was to be the first of many excellent solos. The originals “Death at My Door,” “Your Girl” and “Skeleton Key” from their fine “Peace of Mind” release followed. The Ashford and Simpson tune “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” most notably covered by Humble Pie, was given a terrific reading by this young band who has grown and matured since I first saw them at The Saint a number of years ago. The most interesting song choice of the evening was Jimmy Smith’s “Chicken Shack,” which didn’t stray too far from the original and sounded great, even without the trademark B3. “Baby I Love You,” made famous by the Ronettes long before any of the band members were born, was a treat, with Cassidy’s impassioned vocals and some fine soloing by Bryan. The Meters’ song, “Just Kissed My Baby,” was another good choice and worked well within the framework of their set. Another original from “Peace of Mind,” the swampy feeling “Cryptic Blues,” showed the band’s musical range. “Turn On Your Love Light” was a great tune to end the evening on, but the crowd would have none of it and chanted “one more song”!! Not only did they comply with the Band’s “Ophelia,” but they followed it up with a killer version of “Wishing Well.”
The Outcrops showed us why they have been gaining in popularity as evidenced by the group of fans in front of us who were singing along to the originals as well as the covers. If you haven’t seen them, you need get out and hear the future of this music.