In music, what was hot in March is burnt out by April. The swift current of popular music is as steady as it is unforgiving. It is hard to try and keep up with what sounds good these days, so sometimes one must resort to taking a look back to the past to find something that rings true to them. For many, the burly riffs and pounding rhythm of good old classic rock is something they can hang their musical hats on. On April 9, Reno’s Greg Golden Band put on a show at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino that was cast straight out of the fire of ’70s rock that shot life into people looking for something other than just the flavor of the month.
The Greg Golden Band is the brainchild of none other than Greg Golden, owner of Reno’s guitar Mecca Bizarre Guitar. He is an expert in the intricate workings of guitars and they are as familiar to him as the back of his band. His life’s work is selling guitars and helping to nurture people’s passion for the seductive curves of Les Pauls and Stratocastors. But when he plugged in his guitar on Thursday night with bandmates Jeff Montgomery (guitar), Boris Tavcar (drums), Richard Wagner (bass) and special guest vocalist Paul Holdgate, it became apparent Golden can do more than just sell guitars. He can play them well too.
With a line of beautiful golden guitars shimmering behind him, Golden launched his band into Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” to begin his three-set showcase at Vinyl. The song popped with energy that was more arena rock than blues as the band crashed away on their instruments, and Golden showed his guitar chops with a nimble and swift solo. With its first song, the band let the crowd know they were in for a show inspired by the heavyweights of ’70s rock and went about proving it through the rest of the night.
The members of the Greg Golden Band have obviously all been fed a healthy helping of Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top, the Rolling Stones and the rest of the motley classic rock crew and chose to highlight some of their favorite dishes throughout the night. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Born on the Bayou” had a swampy cool jam in which vocalist Paul Holdgate got the crowd to sing along with him on the chorus. The band rocked a double shot of the Rolling Stones with stomping renditions of “Jumpin Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Woman” back-to-back. When Golden launched into the iconic riff for “Smoke On The Water,” the dance floor became awash with people pumping their fists and dancing. The crowd certainly fed off the anthemic energy of the band all night and the band did not disappoint them.
But Golden didn’t rest solely on the shoulders of rock giants, and intermixed songs off his eponymous debut album throughout the show. “Far Away” roared like a battle cry and felt as if it had been born a Bad Company and REO Speedwagon lovechild. Midway through the first set, the band brought out Frank Hannon Band bassist Aaron Leigh to perform the swagger-laden “Old School,” an anthem for all the people who like their rock served hard and heavy. Golden and Holdgate’s single “Long Way Home”, which has had over 3.6 million views online, was a strapping song that showcased Golden’s electric shredding on the guitar and the band’s ability to infuse a little early-80s glam metal in its sound.
The Greg Golden Band is more than just a nostalgia trip. They are a collection of bonafide rockers who are infused with the spirit of hard rock and roll and want to bestow it upon every crowd they meet.
The Greg Golden Band will be opening for Sebastian Bach at Cargo in Reno on April 24.