Billy Royce and Voodoo Kitchin’
Billy Royce and his two-man crew must have their mojo working like a smokescreen; it’s almost impossible to find out anything about where Voodoo Kitchin’ does its home cooking. But cook they did Saturday night, running through a satisfyingly gritty, if rote, set of swamp rockers in the Stevie Ray Vaughan tradition. Unfortunately, because the trio’s bad moon didn’t rise until early Sunday morning, only about 20 people got to hear them in action.
Royce didn’t seem to notice. Maybe that’s because his hat, also in the Stevie Ray style, was pulled down tight over his face, allowing only his blues grimace to show. (He also wore Stevie boots, Stevie black jeans, and a Stevie Texas-gypsy shirt). Royce also didn’t seem concerned that his songs and playing, though technically proficient and occasionally compelling, were more or less copped from the Vaughan estate sale. Essentially, Royce’s set was a spirited reselling of the best licks and tricks from the late guitarist’s canon.
Not that his bass player and drummer are up to Double Trouble standards. Operating at a solid single-trouble pace, they got the job done, but allowed the seams to show. Hombres like Royce and Co. are problematic, in that the slickness of the star’s soloing clashes with the matte coat of the rhythm section. Saturday, this still worked in favor of the group, giving the set the unpolished feel of what it was: a late-night jam for the die-hards who’d waited an unnecessarily long time.