Popa Chubby | Blue Note Grill | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Popa Chubby 

When: Sat., Jan. 6, 8 p.m. 2018
Price: $13-$15

The career of blues-rock guitarist and vocalist Ted Horowitz, aka Popa Chubby, is not merely based on an ongoing dick joke. The versatile guitarist's sound is affected as much by punk as rock. Although he cites the royal trinity—Albert, B.B, and Freddie King—as heavy influences, he also played with Richard Hell and The Voidoids. You can toss Hendrix in the mix as well, but not for his feedback or firestarter antics. Horowitz was more impressed by Hendrix's rhythm guitar playing, and the way he incorporated it into his lead work.

Horowitz says an early mentor taught him to play phrases instead of just throwing out licks on guitar, playing the way a vocalist sings. His playing becomes even more interesting with the unusual juxtaposition of his muscular, aggressive guitar against his vocals, which sound like Neil Diamond with a country accent.

On 2016's The Catfish, Horowitz takes on "Bye Bye Love," the 1957 Everly Brothers hit penned by country music songwriting legends Felice and Boudleaux Bryant ("Rocky Top," "Love Hurts"). But Horowitz takes it in a direction that neither the Bryants nor the Everlys ever envisioned, turning the song into an instrumental reggae number.

On 2017's Two Dogs, however, Horowitz doesn't wander far from his blues-rock work ethic. "Me Won't Back Down" has a reggae tinge, backed by a swampy, percussive whomp with a screaming Hendrix guitar overlay. From the title, "Cayophus Dupree" sounds like it might be a swamp pop throwdown, but it instead comes off like an instrumental mash-up of George Benson and Eric Clapton. "Chubby's Boogie" is a handful of John Lee's endless by-product mixed with some Allman jam.

A cover of "Sympathy for the Devil" recalls Diamond's vocals once again, while Horowitz simultaneously channels Jagger gargling grave dirt and challenges Keith Richards with some fiery, wicked licks of his own. To close it all out, Horowitz throws in a rock-gospel cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," just for the hell of it.

Horowitz has said that the blues offered him the opportunity to stretch out on guitar and play all night. These days, for Horowitz, it's always nighttime somewhere. —Grant Britt



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