Scrapomatics Yummy Blues Buffet Heats Up the Avalon

by Dwayne Eutsey

Scrapomatic’s bluesy Americana/roots-flavored performance Thursday night began with a slow simmer that grew throughout their tight, hour-and-a-half set into a hot, roiling finish.

At the risk of over-extending my culinary metaphor here, vocalist Michael Mattison’s performance in the Avalon’s Stoltz Listening Room reminded me of a smooth-and-spicy, down-home blend of hickory BBQ sauce. If you’ve heard him in his other life as lead singer with the Derek Trucks Band, you know Mattison’s vocals range from raw and raspy to angelically soulful, a span that was in full effect throughout the evening.

Paul Olsen, Mattison’s partner, demonstrated a similar range on acoustic guitar. His playing seamlessly moved from blues to country to gospel, while his tenor voice provided a sweet counterbalance to Mattison’s heartier edge. Joining the duo on stage was their friend David Yoke, guitarist for Susan Tedeschi’s band. Playing a jalapeno-red electric guitar, Yoke rounded out Thursday night’s show with some zesty riffs and solos.

The set included original tunes penned by Mattison and Olsen like “Alligator Love Cry” and “Graveside Blues,” along with traditional blues and gospel songs by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt (“Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me”) and the Rev. Gary Davis (“I Belong to the Band”). The show-stopper for me was a blistering version of a haunting song called “Rawhead and Bloody Bones” from Scrapomatic’s 2006 CD Alligator Love Cry.  

All in all, Scrapomatic cooked up a satisfying musical spread that they left those of us in the audience hungry for more.

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