I had the pleasure of seeing Philip Sayce in concert at the Mod Club for Indie Music Week and it was akin to a kind of religious experience. I admit I was not aware of his talents beforehand and as I noticed quite the crowd forming I turned to my friend and said, “what’s the draw?” A fan had overheard me and sported a smug look like he knew something I didn’t know and responded with, “you don’t know who Phillip Sayce is? He inducted Bon Jovi into the rock and roll hall of fame!” Noticing I was visibly still not impressed he said, “Just wait.”
Shaggy blonde hair, worn jeans, a wide brimmed hat and a suit jacket with too many accessories walked out and started adjusting his mic. He had a bandana hanging out of his pocket and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. However, he addressed his fans with a genuine modesty and his voice held nothing but appreciation and gratitude for them coming out to see him.
An explosion of talent burst into my ears at the moment of his first guitar solo. He was like a wizard on the strings, the speed and accuracy with which he played the notes was mind blowing and I now understood why people held him in such high regard. His passion overflowed into his music through his body language and the various ridiculous faces he would make during his intense solos. It was almost like we were intruding on a private moment, you want to look away but you can’t. Sayce was truly mesmerizing on the guitar and brought back funk and blues like they hadn’t gone out of style.
The only negative aspect of the show that I feel ashamed to touch on was the sound. I have this t-shirt that says “if it’s too loud, you’re too old.” I’ve lived by that motto as a youth and into my university days. I love concerts and have been to a lot in my short life time; playing music isn’t as fun unless it’s loud but this concert had me in pain. I have never experienced something so loud that my ears began to hurt. I had seen Finger 11 the night before amongst other heavy rock groups and that was nowhere near the decibel level of the Philip Sayce concert. I’m not sure if it was a sound issue or Sayce just likes it that loud but after being in the front row for the first five or six songs I had to move. Positioning myself in a better area so that the sound emitting from the speakers was balanced definitely helped, but in the end I had to cut the concert short and leave.
Overall, experiencing Philip Sayce’s incredible talent was worth it but, if I’m honest, there was not a more euphoric feeling then leaving that venue to hear the much quieter (in comparison) sounds of the city.