Thursday, August 28, 2014

23 Aug 14 - Dave Arcari

"...did you bring your crash helmet?" ~ Dave Arcari during his interview
Hey, blogspot readers, many things are associated with Scotland ...haggis, bagpipes, Chvrches, Teenage Fanclub, Simple Minds, Biffy Clyro, Big Country, Donovan, golf and so much more. However, alternative blues/rock?! What do the Scots know about the blues?! That's how SouthSide first felt upon hearing guitarist Dave Arcari was making his return to Chicago's Reggie's Music Joint as part of his US Tour 2014. She couldn't believe it either. Dave was also part of the lineup that featured rockin' music performances by local country/folk/blues musician Lou Shields and real Ozark band from Arkansas - Mountain Sprout. Definitely not SouthSide's usual night with the bands yet it was an adventure not to be missed, blogspot readers, especially after meeting a musician like Dave Arcari!
This reviewer highly recommends checking out Lou Shields ( and his awesome selection of handcrafted guitars at his next live performance. She liked how performed songs, for example " Back Home" and "Get Out Of Your Way", with such passionate vocal fervor as well as with unique fingering and strumming. It's hard to describe the magic he created on his guitars, blogspot readers. This musician gave each note/chord strummed it's own instrumental personality to pop the lyrics (as he sang) to life. It may sound confusing from the way SouthSide but it's the best way she could describe Lou's performance to you. This is why you have to see him perform live to truly get a better understanding of his music and vocal style. His unique take on the country/folk sound was quite fascinating besides being energetic ...and at times, heartfelt. If you're in the Cookville, TN area for the Muddy Roots Festival, this reviewer suggests you make a date to attend his performance there on Aug 30th.

Just by his appearance alone, her first impression of Dave Arcari was "...he looks more like a metal guitarist rather than a Scottish blues musician who hones in the 50s/rockabilly..." He even performs on stage like he plays in a metal with all of the hopping and screaming (like a terrifying banshee) he does during his performance. Trust, this reviewer, when he says "...I'm nicer than I look...", he absolutely means it, blogspot readers, which was partly the theme of his set tonight. for me it's not [real] blues..." says Dave who also stated that he doesn't do covers or join in jam sessions when asked. He mention quite of an extensive list featuring notable names in music history that have influenced his blues music/sound to SouthSide. Names like "...Willie Johnson ...Bukka White..." as well as others "...Hank Williams ...Johnny Cash..." plus the other stuff that includes a bit of 50s rock-n-roll and rockabilly. Dave considers the British version of the blues to be flat, blogspot readers, because it contains the same chords over and over again.
And he's totally fun to hang out with too! The interview before his set on the Music Joint stage didn't feel like an interview. It felt more like old friends catching up on what's happening since Dave and SouthSide along with wife Margaret chatted about the wild summer rainstorm, Chicago's traffic, their time on Fearless Radio with Kris and Patrick and life as an ordinary rock star. He even complimented on her faux Scottish accent when saying his last name (thanks to that Scot ancestor in her blood). So what got Dave Arcari interested in becoming an alternative blues guitarist? Though buying a Johnny Cash compilation album featuring a number of his live recordings and session when he was young, Dave didn't grow up listening to the blues. However, you can definitely thank his bank job he had at the age of 18 for that Christmas bonus to which he spent it on his first guitar thus getting him interested in Bob Dylan. That help slowly gravitate towards blues artists such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and other ...but no Eric Clapton or British blues music for this Scot. "...

Now, when it comes to his music, he likened it to vegemite " either love it or hate it..." For the record, SouthSide hates vegemite! Speaking of food, this artist is driven by food and not by the typical rock star stereotype of drugs or sex. Dave mentioned to SouthSide that he has a smoker back at his home (outside Glasgow) in which he smokes pork butt, pulled pork, brisket, chicken but " smokin' haggis..." He even makes his own rub, blogspot readers, while Margaret makes the sauce for the meats. Though he's a carnivore, he does enjoy the vegetarian haggis to which this reviewer didn't know there was such a thing in Scotland yet she was told it's delicious. " [vegan haggis] almost tastes better than the regular haggis..." (Oh small note to Reggie's - they love the quesadillas!) When he gets home, he's going to try his own version of pulled chicken that he recently had a chance to try during his travels. He also had a couple of words about American whiskey too. According to him, it's "...too sweet..." even though Scottish malt whiskey "...tastes like ointment..." Funny. SouthSide then asked him about what's the music scene like in Glasgow after mentioning about the lost of the iconic nightclub, Clutha Vaults. He stated it's a healthy music scene citing "...Glasgow is the music capital of UK and [perhaps] Europe..." Dave told her there's a lot of indie bands that hail and/or performed at Clutha Vaults but it's not an easy scene to make a living there "...somehow we managed to make a living..." despite there's very little interest in blues music amongst the fans. He also wanted fans to know that he recently finished another live Daytrotter session and hopes to have it out by September. Lastly, Dave wanted to thank his fans too. "...without them, I wouldn't be able to do this ...and hope people [can] keep on supporting me..." as well as thanks "...the musicians who go out of their way to help us..." He loves their enthusiasm to know the people besides the music. On with the show, blogspot readers, and it wasn't what SouthSide was expecting from Dave Arcari either.

Let's just say, he's definitely the first crazed Scot this reviewer has met  to rock down a stage! Be prepared to what a guitarist become very agile and animated all over the stage throughout his set. Plus if he's performing in a venue like Reggie's where there's loud rock band playing on the other side of the wall, he takes it as a challenge to play louder than the, blogspot readers. "...going to drown out these fuckers next door..." he told the Music Joint audience before the start of his performance. This reviewer thinks he actually did perform louder than the band next door on Saturday night. Overall, it was quite intense ...excitable ...she was nearly exhausted simply by watching him perform his "short" set featuring songs like "Devil's Left Hand", "Bring My Baby Back" and "Got Me Electric".
To say, Dave Arcari electrified the stage would be an understatement though there aren't many words to fully describe the type of performance this reviewer witnessed, blogspot readers. He's definitely an entertainer who loves to perform loud while delighting the audience with his animated stage antics. Oh be forewarned, you might feel a chill in the soul when he does his banshee-like cackles or a thunderous roar over the microphone amidst his deep vocals. This guitarist did manage to squeeze in a Johnny Cash cover (and it wasn't the usual "...Ring of Fire shite...") during his set. No, this time, it was a rare cover version of "Blue Train" that had this reviewer thinking it was actually the Man in Black not Dave rockin' the stage. It's also the same song he did when the BBC ("...those corporate bastards who own everything...") asked him to be a part of their Johnny Cash tribute show. "...funny how whiskey makes you feel better..." quipped Dave before rockin' around the stage to "Hangman's Blues" and  "Close to the Edge", What didn't happened, blogspot readers, was his usual jumping off the stage which wife Margaret told SouthSide about ...only because there wasn't enough room and tables in front of the stage for him to do that after performing "Walkin' Blues".

Whew what a show! For more information about Dave Arcari and where his travels will take him next as he currently tours the US, visit SouthSide's friend from Scotland at

Until next time, support your local scene,

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