Wilkes-Barre heavy blues trio to bring SRV Retrospective to Kirby Center
What started as a one-off for heavy blues trio Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen has led not only to more gigs but also to added exposure for the group’s original music.
The Wilkes-Barre three-piece performed their first Steve Ray Vaughan Retrospective in January at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains Township. The positive response landed them another opportunity opening for “The Voice” contestant Laith Al-Saadi in March at B.B. King’s in New York City.
Now, the Gentlemen are poised to bring their tribute to the blues icon to the F.M. Kirby Center’s Chandelier Lobby, where they’ll perform at 8 p.m. Saturday. As they did at the Jazz Cafe, the Gents will play a set of their original music first, followed by a set from Vaughan’s catalog — essentially opening for themselves.
“I think anything we do musically, the ultimate goal is (to be) a gateway drug into the band’s original stuff that we make,” songwriter and guitarist Douglas said. “We never want to become a tribute band. That’s a very important thing for us, to not cross that line.”
But for Douglas, the appreciation fans have for Vaughan’s music is not lost on him, as he is, at heart, a fan himself.
“We do this because we want to and we have fun doing it, and we like to play that stuff,” Douglas said. “We’re not really looking at it as a business move. We just feel we do justice to the Stevie Ray Vaughan stuff, and it does come naturally.”
The frontman called the band’s experience at B.B. King’s a bucket list moment for him.
“It was wonderful, such a legendary club,” he said. “There was a moment when I had to sit back and think, ‘Man, the amount of great players that played this stage.’ It was a great room, and a great crowd. And we were booked to do the Stevie Ray Vaughan thing, but the act we were supporting was cool and wanted us to play some originals as well.”
Now, Douglas takes his outfit, rounded out my Matt Gabriel on bass and Tommy Smallcomb on drums, to the F.M. Kirby Center, where Douglas has played on both the main stage and in the lobby as an instrumentalist or an opening act but where the Gentlemen will be headlining for the first time on Saturday.
“It’s a bit nerve-wracking, but with more stress comes more reward,” Douglas said. “It feels good to be able to achieve that. I’ve been seeing shows there since I was a kid. We just want to keep making bigger steps. Hopefully next time, it’s all original stuff, and hopefully the time after that, it’s the main room. We want to keep laying down those grass roots.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Stevie Ray Vaughan Retrospective performed by Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen
Where: F.M. Kirby Center, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Additional information: Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show and are available at the Kirby Center Box Office, online at at kirbycenter.org and by phone at 570-826-1100.