By Fly Amero
This is not a review. I would never presume to critique any single one of the great musicians we have here on the North Shore. Let’s think of it more as a message to those out there who figure they’ve seen Allen Estes perform a number of times, and thus may have passed on tickets for this wonderful Beverly show. In a nutshell… too bad for you! Forget that the historic Larcom Theater is a fully restored, gorgeous facility with hand-painted tin, beautifully designed curtains, world-class stage lighting and, well… the list could go on and on. Forget that the place is virtually next-door. Forget it all. This was about a truly incredible songwriter, centerstage at a venue which absolutely captures the nuance of his lilting voice and intelligent, heartfelt lyric. The sound (under the direction of Will Hunt) was nothing shy of spectacular, with its focus exactly where it should be – the lead voice. Allen’s words were clear as a waterfall. His songs could be heard as they’ve never been heard before, and appreciated for the finely crafted works of art that they are. But there was an unexpected knockout punch that came on with subtlety… and that was Allen’s masterful orchestration of the entire set. Starting the show solo, he gradually, one by one, eased players onto the stage until ultimately finding himself backed by five of the finest musicians New England has to offer. I cannot for the life of me think of any place in the world I’d rather have been on Saturday night than right down the street from us all (not “up the line”, which makes everyone think it’s far, far away when it’s really not) at the Larcom Theater, 13 Wallis Street, Beverly, MA.
Allen Estes: vocals/acous. guitar
David Brown: slide dobro/elec. guitar/vocals
Matt Leavenworth: fiddle
Steve Burke: keyboards/vocals
Wolf Ginandes: bass
Dave Mattacks: drums