I found myself navigating the Seventh Street corridor Sunday in search of live music and comfort food.
I pulled into Fred’s Texas Cafe and was immediately met outside by Valenti Funk of the Effinays and guitarist Eric McFadden. I had been trying to catch McFadden playing live for some time now. Funk was going to be playing drums for tonight — always a good sign.
I managed to secure a table next to the stage (something akin to winning the lottery at Fred’s).
Kegan McInroe had just finished up his set when I got there, and he sat down with me to watch McFadden, who stepped up to the mic with an acoustic guitar and performed his first few songs solo.
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He has soulful but energetic style, with just a touch of funk. I would pay to watch this guy perform as a solo act all day, and with the first song I knew we had something special here.
After a short solo set, he was joined on stage by drummer Funk, bassist Jeremy Thompson and electronic percussionist Jah Bornn. Right out of the gate McFadden did something that I have been wanting to see a performer do at most of the bars I go to. As the band fired up, McFadden asked that all the TVs be turned off.
When his request was ignored, he stopped the show until they were. This should be standard policy in any bar or restaurant that has live music. It’s disrespectful to the musicians to have big screen TVs going on around the room while they are trying to perform.
A round of applause went up when the TVs were turned off, so the audience agreed.
McFadden flows from soulful to percussive to blistering guitar runs effortlessly and naturally. Vocals were rough occasionally but emotive.
And just the sheer talent of the people on stage was overwhelming. Funk is one of the best drummers in the Metroplex, and Thompson is an amazing bassist. I think my favorite part of the show is the back and forth solo exchanges that went on between McFadden and Thompson.
At various time they were joined on stage by singers Delphine De St Paër and Isaac Brown, saxophonist Nick Salvucci and a 12-year-old prodigy of a drummer, J. D. Beck. That kid can really play.
The band played 6-9:30 p.m. with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of fans hanging on until the last note. A lot of times I see shows at Fred’s where the music seems to blend in with the background, and that wasn’t the case this time.
Turning off the TVs helped. Having a world-class guitar player who can captivate an audience through sheer talent does the trick regardless. McFadden is a must-see.
- Sunday, Oct. 25
- Fred’s Texas Cafe, 915 Currie St., Fort Worth