Written By: Monica Sherry
Photos By: Brock Caldwell (GALLERY)
Los Angeles based band The Ringers is a musical super group comprised of Widespread Panic’s lead guitarist Jimmy Herring, musical veteran Wayne Krantz, acclaimed musician and producer Michael Landau, bassist Etienne Mbappe of John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension, and current sub-in drummer Gary Novak who has worked with the likes of Alanis Morrisette and Andrew WK among others.
Waiting in line to get into Park Street Saloon, one of the smaller venues here in Columbus, it was obvious that most people were there to see Jimmy Herring. Fans were fully clad in WSP apparel and several comments made about their excitement to see him in such an intimate setting. The band started an hour and half late, apparently due to some botched travel plans, but the fans did not seem to mind. By time the band took the stage around 9:30pm the venue was about three quarters full but buzzing with energy.
Going into this show I only knew that the band was of the blues-rock genre and I was not entirely sure what to expect. However, the two- hour performance was filled with melodic jams, slow grooves, and few vocals. The influence of each band member is obvious throughout the set with elements of blues, rock, jam, and funk prevalent in several songs. Fans coming in to be blown away by Herring were pleasantly surprised at the abilities of Michael Landau, who shares lead guitar with Herring and did all vocals.
In my opinion, Landau stole the show. His solos were truly a thing of beauty to listen to. It seems as though the rest of band also looked to him for direction on where the set was going. Landau may have shown brightest during his solo during the song “Informal Neighbor,” which was written by Krantz. Herring and Landau would often go back and forth on solos during songs, and it was entertaining to watch and listen to them play.
There were several people around me swaying with eyes closed as they enjoyed the music, or full on dancing with each other. The little crowd interaction that did take place, taken on by third guitarist Wayne Krantz, was inviting and humorous. At one point someone in the back of the crowd was heard singing “Happy Birthday” to someone, and Krantz lightheartedly played a few chords of the “Happy Birthday” song in acknowledgement that he could hear them.
The biggest highlight of the set for me was watching these musicians play together. If you could stop dancing along to the music for a moment and pay attention to the band members individually, you could see the smiles and laughs that they shared throughout the entire set. Watching them collaborate with each other and genuinely enjoy themselves on the stage is what makes a good show, and in that aspect I’d say they really won me over. View a full photo gallery by Brock Caldwell here.