In the House
Acknowledging the handful of dedicated artists holding down local residencies
Pasadena Weekly | Volume 21 | Number 1 | January 2005
GUITAR MAN: Pat O'Brien and the Priests of Love play at the First Cabin in Arcadia
Early January's a sleepy time for the local club scene. Show's still happen, but overall
it's not too exciting. Blame the post-holiday stress-and-excess holiday hangover.
But, it's an appropriate time for reflection and for acknowledging the handful of dedicated artists holding down residencies - weekly or monthly shows at area venues, often with guest artists enlivening the proceedings. It's easy to blow them off with, "I'll catch 'em next time", or to regard them as stodgy, second-rate old farts more agreeable to Mom 'n Pop than hip taste-makers, which is (not always, but often enough) an unfortunate mistake. Here are some worth your time and gas money.
Pat O'Brien and the Priests of Love - most weekends at First Cabin in Arcadia. He's got a 'do that John Mayall would probably kill for, and the leather vest-over-bare-chest look he sports in promo pics that went out sometime during the Reagan administration. But, O'Brien's guitar chops remain undeniable; blues icon Willie Dixon and Albert Collins both gave him their blessings, and week after week he faces down the thankless grind of entertaining beer chuggers at the hometown watering hole with some fierce guitar playing. Bar band deluxe.
PAT O'BRIEN AND THE PRIESTS OF LOVE ~ ARCADIA
First Cabin ~ 46 E. Huntington Dr. ~ Arcadia
Three nights a week, the world's greatest bar band plays just a few short miles from downtown L.A. Pat O'Brien is an LA guitar hero commandeering the tiny stage in front of the bar, playing for the packed crowd of grateful locals, worshipful musicians, and blues aficionados. The rhythm section keeps the beat and throws in some pyrotechnics of their own. Cash requests only.
& THE PRIESTS OF LOVE
On A Mission...Wondertron
Charlie Musselwhite beware: there is an even hotter blues harpist around and his name is Pat O'Brien. After recently backing Scott Henderson on the critically acclaimed "Dog Party", O'Brien has struck out on his own.
Not only is he a standout harmonica player, he rips out some of the most wicked guitar licks around. With the Priests of Love (Jimmy Volpe on drums and Charles Button on bass), O'Brien's trio is one of the choice blues bands around today. Standout tunes include the jazzy, "Jimmy's Got His Brushes" and the rocking tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, "The Sky is Crying". O'Brien serves up everything from rockabilly to jazz to straightforward blues on this tasty debut disc.
CD REVIEW by Jeff Endorf
Scene May 1997 Volume 7 Issue 2
Friday, December 27, 1996
After visiting more than two hundred nightclubs
since September 1993, I offer my ten favorite nightspots in my last column.
BEST HOUSE BAND:
46 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia (626) 446-2575
Pat O'Brien and the Priests of Love know how to
rock and they've got the groupies to prove it!
"ROCKIN' THE BLUES AND SPANKIN' THE SWANG"
Astounding! This is a great Swing/Blues album!
I wasn't sure that this CD would be a good buy until I actually received it and listened to it. Now I'm hooked. I expected just a straight blues album, but it is just as much a swing album. Every harmonica player should have a copy of this. Standout songs are "The E Flat Special","That's My Ex-Wife" and my favorite "Cajun Chopsticks". I just keep listening to it. Check it out!
September 1997 | Volume 8, Number 9
PAT O'BRIEN AND THE PRIESTS OF LOVE
ON A MISSION...
This album is a great sample of what Pat O'Brien and the Priests of Love sound like. While it does not entirely convey the experience of seeing them live, it is still a good example of what one can expect of that experience. The material here is mostly original material, with only two cover tunes, and very good material it is. O'Brien and the Priests (Jimmy Volpe on drums and Charles Button on bass) play this material with a great deal of intensity and verve. They even share the vocals on most of these tracks. O'Brien shows off both his formidable guitar and harmonica playing. This is a man who definitely has the licks and can back it up.
The Priests are not left in the dust by O'Brien, both of them being consummate musicians in
their own right. Volpe's drumming propels the whole sound through the songs just at the right speed and Button swings back and forth between the melody and rhythm, just like a bass in this kind of trio should.
This is some top-notch electric blues with an original sound. This kind of freshness is always welcoming in today's atmosphere of recycled licks and riffs.
Southland Blues September 1997 Page 17
MALTA JAZZ FESTIVAL
18, 19, 20, July 1997
The Malta Jazz Festival has always featured a selection of diverse
musicians ranging from the smooth acoustic sounds of Toots Thielemans, Joe Henderson, Elvin Jones, Betty Carter and Charlie Haden to the more adventurous stylings of Steve Coleman, John Scofield, Chick Corea and Albert Mangelsdorff.
A special attraction for guitarists, this festival encompasses various musical genres, with John Scofield, Mike Stern, Hiram Bullock and Scott Henderson's Blues Band. Other instrumentalists are Dino Saluzzi on bandoneon, Pat O'Brien on harmonica, Steve Swallow, Marc Johnson, Lincoln Goines on bass, Dave Weckl and Billy Hart on drums and Tim Garland on sax.