Nik Freitas, Friday 27 

Before I write anything else, I must clarify something. Last week in "A Band On A Mission (BW 5/25)," I mistakenly implied that Jackpot was opening for Nik Freitas and The Head Gates. While Nik and the Gates could definitely be a show headliner, they were the openers for this one. However, other than the fact that their set was shorter than Jackpot's, this could easily have been a double-header. Both bands were at the top of their games Friday night at the Neurolux. Nik's vocals and lyrics were rich and sweet and bassist Colin Schlitt and drummer Paul Ellis backed him up as if the three of them had been playing together forever. It was a show I'm so glad I didn't miss.

The bonus surprise of the night for me, however, was Jackpot. When I saw two guitars, drums, a bass, keyboards and a banjo, all I could think was, "Great. Country music." Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it's gotta be country with a twist. I was right. Their melodic, blues/country rock brand of music was incredible. These five guys out of Sacramento rocked the joint and I have to admit, I was embarrassed I hadn't heard of them before. Lead singer Rusty Miller is a tall, lean drink of water who wore a worn, low-slung cowboy hat over his eyes and sang in a deep delicious voice that had me transfixed. Their set was tight and they ended the night with this kind of progressive, insane, amps up, full-force jam that kicked some serious ass. Again, I wouldn't have missed this show for the world.

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