ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 19, 1991
By Steve Newton
Does 22-year-old David Gogo have what it takes to become Canada’s next blues-rock guitar hero? Can his name be mentioned along with the likes of Jeff Healey, Colin James, and Tony “Wild T” Springer?
That question could be on a few minds these days, especially in light of the fact the Nanaimo native recently inked a worldwide recording deal with Capitol Records. There are a lot of factors involved in the prospect, though, and Gogo’s show at the Commodore last Friday (September 13) didn’t offer any easy answers.
But one thing’s for sure: the boy can play.
Gogo didn’t waste much time showing who his major influences are, choosing as his second tune the Buddy Guy classic “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, a rollicking ditty popularized by Gogo’s idol, Stevie Ray Vaughan. He pulled out all the SRV tricks on that one—right down to the overhand neck-sliding between “tiskit” and “tasket”—and got the packed dance floor jiving madly along.
Later, he stood on the wah-wah pedal for another Vaughan concert fave, Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”, and pulled it off with equal parts fire and grace. All that crowd-pleasing stuff is fine and dandy, but it seemed like Gogo might have been covering up for a lack of original material. It could be pencil-sharpening time.
As a performer, though, Gogo’s got it. In the middle of one song, he headed up to the Commodore bar and ordered a stiff shot, wailin’ away the whole time. What was he havin’? “Anything that’s liquid,” he said, before downing several ounces of brown fluid and using the empty glass for a wicked slide.
Ya gotta like that.
While Gogo’s band, the Persuaders, is a decent, workmanlike outfit, you also have to wonder whether they’re up to his potential or whether—like Jeff Healey’s band—they’re holding him back. The saxophonist was right on but seemed to be competing with Gogo more than encouraging him to new heights. And you couldn’t even hear the sax during the encore; it was as if someone had unplugged the poor guy.
You wouldn’t see that happening to Colin James’s saxman.