Albert Collins, Anthracite wow Impaxx by Jim Hudnut

As if the Collins show weren't hot enough, the festivities got off to a red-hot start thanks to the striking talents of Anthracite, a three-piece funk/blues outfit from Buffalo. Anthracite features Reggie Evans on drums, Rodney Appleby on bass and vocals along with Tony Scozzaro on guitar and has been together only six months. However, Evans and Appleby have been friends and frequent musical partners for a dozen years and it shows in their tight, energetic style of play. Appleby knew Scozzaro for about two years, and when Evans returned from Toronto, where he pounded the skins for the reggae band, the Sattalites, they all got together.

They opened with a pair of scalding instrumental numbers "Anthracite Shuffle" and "The Exercise", both originals, then launched into "Freedom", featuring dynamic guitar riffs and soulful vocals from Appleby, whose style reminds one of Living Color's Corey Glover. Toes were tappin' and heads bobbin' as the band settled into a funky cover of Rubben Ford's "Help the Poor" - an energy than continued through the instrumental "Observations and Reflections" - a tune penned by Billy Cobham. Like Collins, bassist Appleby went on an excursion into the crowd and was also enthusiastically greeted, while Evans pounded out a solid drum solo much in the vein of Rush's Neil Peart.

Anthracite closed out a solid 40-minute set with a riveting cover of the Beatles chestnut "Come Together" in which the band slowed down the pace and picked up the funk, then launched into Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover" in which Scozzaro showed off his six-string prowess to the maximum. It's uniortunate the band had only those precious 40-minutes before giving way to Collins and the lcebreakers because they are a talented outfit that the gathering was really getting into with their unique brand of blues, funk, soul and, dare I say, hard rock. Drummer Evans also had the "honor" of having Albert Collins' drummer be so impressed with his drumkit that he used Evans' instead of his own.

With their musical experience and desire, it's possible Anthracite could be a force in the Buffalo music scene and in this writer's opinion are equal, or even better, in quality to many national acts mining the same musical vein. They are starting to lay down some tracks for an album which they hope to have out in about six months. I can't wait to hear it?

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