Concert Review 2013 Spring Tour by Steve Champion
Live review from our March Tour – thanks to Steve Champion!
Ulrich Ellison and the Tribe
Entertainment Desk – GG Staff Writer Steve C.
Owensboro, KENTUCKY (GG) – The Vikings pillaged, plundered and generally wreaked havoc all over North Atlantic and Northwestern European countries between the 8th and 11th Centuries. They were a fearsome bunch and no one within their reach was completely safe from their legendary raids.
Although they didn’t consider Austria part of their homeland, they were experienced travellers and particularly manly men, so, it’s fairly easy to assume that there’s probably some Viking blood coursing through the veins of any given Austrian. Even though the last of the Vikings faded from history in the 1100’s, it’s a sure bet that there have always been a few havoc wreakers left, armed with broad axes, long swords or the occasional custom-made Suhr Strat.
Ulrich grew up in Austria in the same town that gave the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He developed his guitar chops early and, owing to his Viking blood, struck out in the world, seeking his plunder. In 2007 he stormed Austin, Texas armed with a Jazz Scholarship and the heart of a warrior. By 2012 he had sacked the International Downbeat Awards 3 times, released a trio of albums and pillaged the Austin Music Awards with a #8 finish for Best New Band and #2 for Best Instrumental.
An artist of astounding depth, he is completely at home whether he floats lovingly or plunges demonically into any of the many styles he is adept at playing. From subtle jazz-influenced chord melodies, to blistering Stadium-Rock leads, to modal Celtic reels, to greasy gut bucket blues… his sets will get you on your feet and leave you in equal parts of musical joy and disbelief at what you just heard. And definitely wanting some more…
The Blues Purists and Tone Junkies will also appreciate this man’s craft when he settles into a straight up blues tune or takes the dynamics down to a whisper. This mash-up recipe of taking some KILLER, European-influenced, well-schooled technical jazz/rock chops and soaking them for a few years in the rich Austin, Texas Blues Scene is an alchemy worth of checking out if they play near you. Or become a true Viking and strike out in a longboat or road trip hoping to find your own musical plunder. Check their tour schedules, http://ulrichellison.com/, or find them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/ulrichellisonmusic.
Last fall, he and his Tribe played an epic private party in Owensboro at the home of our great friend Ben Skiadas. It was there where we first heard and met Ulrich and the other Tribe members: his lovely wife, Sabine who holds down the bass chores as solidly as any Nordic warrior… and the exceptional Michelle Alany on violin. Just, WOW. Michelle can play as delicately as the Land of the Viking’s National Flower, the Purple Heather, or stand toe to toe with Ulrich as they trade ferocious licks back and forth, brandishing her bow like a long sword. Horse hair, steel and sweat flying through the air and everything… Like I said, EPIC.
This March, Ben not only invited the Tribe (and LUCKY us!) back to his home, they played a gig at Owensboro’s, McGrady’s Pub where an overwhelmed crowd submitted to their new marauding Viking leader and had a fantastic time.
On this trip, the Tribe also included the 21 year old, Mike Davila, fresh off of winning the WORLD CHAMPION spot in the Mapex Drummer of Tomorrow contest in Frankfurt, Germany. This impossibly young and wonderfully talented drummer added some incredible depth to an already strong lineup. Not many guys his age could hang with such a veteran crew and not look like a punk, but Mike’s playing stood tall and drove the rhythm assault like a sweaty team of pissed off War Horses.
Only a lucky few of you reading this can claim to be genuine members of the Tribe right now, and that is a darn shame. We have an idea though, that as Ulrich Ellison continues wreaking his brand of Viking-Euro-Jazz-Infused Blues-Rock havoc, the numbers of this Tribe will keep growing. Join us, you won’t be sorry.
C’mon, Ulrich. Let’s go storm the next town…