Bobby Joyner & the Sundowners return to Sena on Myrtle in Monrovia Saturday night
By Bliss Bowen 09/06/2012
It’s the sign of seasoned musicians that they can make new listeners feel like cherished pals. Maybe it’s their blues-rocking setlists, maybe it’s their blue-jeaned bonhomie, or maybe it’s the tribal vibe they get going when friends and fans start spinning in the audience. Whatever the reason, a club gig with Bobby Joyner & the Sundowners often feels like a party with old friends.
Joyner and his bandmates — guitarist “Hippie” Dan Wistrom, bassist Toby Semain and drummer Scott Lorenzini — are themselves longtime buddies, drawn together by a shared passion for the ABC’s: the Allmans, The Band, Clapton and Creedence. Their bar-band repertoire also includes heavy doses of ZZ Top, Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Tom Petty and Little Feat, along with nuggets from the tune bags of Mississippi Fred McDowell and Albert King. Just returned from playing a beer fest in North Dakota, they’re back at Sena on Myrtle in Monrovia this Saturday.
They’ll likely play a few songs from Joyner’s 2006 album “Skies of Blue & Fields of Green,” along with some newer roadhouse rockers. Raised in Mississippi, Joyner’s original music skews heavily toward Southern rock and country, though he’s got a raw, smoke-and-gravel voice made for howling the blues. He’s found his ideal complement in Wistrom, whose alternately sensitive and scorching fretwork comfortably straddles the divides between blues, country and rock.
The Sundowners’ appeal is visceral. When they played the London Gastropub in May, the place was packed with Saturday night revelers, many of whom had never heard the band before. As they rocked through a few high-volume sets of cross-genre crowd-pleasers, a cry like that of a whooping bird repeatedly pierced the air. The winged refugee turned out to be a diminutive woman of uncommon enthusiasm, who jumped in the air, threw her head back and grabbed the arms of friends, dragging them toward the band to dance with her. Another onlooker, easily five beers to the wind, swayed barely a foot away from Wistrom and fixated on his guitar, as if, by staring intensely enough, he could will himself to learn all the chords he saw being fingered.
Near 1 o’clock in the morning, the Sundowners announced, “Hey, it’s been fun, folks, but this is our last song.” That’s when a man approached them, waving money — offering to pay a hundred bucks if they would play five more songs. It had been a very fun night indeed.
Needless to say, they accepted his offer.
And should that generous fan be reading this now, Joyner and the Sundowners have a message for you: It would be awesome to see you again.
Bobby Joyner & the Sundowners return to Sena on Myrtle, 409 S. Myrtle Ave., Monrovia, 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. Free admission. Info: (626) 359-9463. Bobbyjoyner.com