Reviews, Quotes & More

SOUND STAGE :: Keepin’ the Pace

From May 22, 2013 Cityview. Written by Amber Williams

Any enlightened and humble musician — regardless of age or background — must at some point come to acknowledge that no matter what genre he or she claims, there is something left to learn from the blues. My hope is that the appreciation doesn’t fade with the older generation that tends to frequent the Gas Lamp for its Friday Work Release with Bob Pace and Dangerous Band.

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Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band performing the Gas Lamp’s Friday Work Release show, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Pace is a musician’s musician, the kind of picker that other talents envy, and rightfully so. It’s no wonder the Gas Lamp’s Friday night happy hour draws a wall-to-wall crowd of energy — the kind of enthusiastic audience that you’d usually find with the nine o’clock headliners when the woo-hoo women are good and toasted. But at six o’clock on a Friday, it wasn’t the spirits in the glass that got the crowd on their feet. It was the spirits on stage.

Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band delivers everything you’d expect from a typical blues band, nailing the standard covers such as “Groove Me,” “Baby, I Need Your Loving” and the blues staple “Play That Funky Music” like old pros. But the band is anything but ordinary. Each is a master of his instrument, even as they change roles depending on the tune. The drum kit is occupied by George “Bishop” McCutchen, who turns the sticks over to an extraordinarily talented “guest” who is more accurately deemed “friend of the band,” so he can wail on the mic for a bit — a brave move by Bishop, because it’s hard to choose a favorite drummer between the two. The second of two keyboard players, Nathan Peoples, also doubles on the sax with a subtle sexiness only an otherwise shy guy could pull off. Tom Murphy manages to keep a serious beat even though he can’t keep a serious face, with time-changing nods and smiles of approval to guest keyboardist Neil Stoffregren, who more regularly assists with the raucous rock-n-roll musings of powerhouse Bonne Finken. And Pace is the perfect leader for the rest to follow, playing key climatic moments one-handed on the fret board while the axe is raised high above his head like an extension of his forearm — as if he owes it all to the Fender Stratocaster.

“If I offended anyone out there of the female persuasion, it was purely by accident,” he told the crowd after a sensual Peter Frampton-like guitar-speak to the ladies in the front row.

They didn’t mind.

By Amber Williams | Cityview

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Pace Called Musical Magician

 By Charles Walton, Central Iowa Music Examiner

I had the privilege of attending my first Bob Pace show Oct. 1 at Down under Bar & Grill (8350 Hickman Road in Clive).  For those of you have never seen the Bob Pace Band play, let me share with you what I have learned from the experience.

  1. I knew that Bob Pace was in the Iowa Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.  As Bob, himself, points out, “So are a lot of people.”  Bob belongs there.
  2. Bob Pace can play just about anything….While Pace is known for rock and blues, he will mix in some country, swing, and other genres.  At Down Under, Pace spliced in riffs from AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”, and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” amidst his set list of music from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and Marc Cohen.  He covered The Charlie Daniels Band, Jimi Hendrix, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, The Doors, ZZ Top, and Bad Company, as well.  He even played versions of “Happy Birthday” (for a birthday party sitting up front), the National Anthem, and “Meet the Flintstones” on Saturday.  Pace mixed in originals like “Howl at the Moon” (from his recent Live at Blues on Grand album), too.
  3. Do not ask Bob Pace to play Pink Floyd.
  4. Whatever style of music Bob Pace plays, be it blues, rock, swing, metal, country, TV show theme songs, or patriotic songs, he will be amazing.
  5. Bob Pace is a magician with a guitar.  While I am referring to his ferocious riffs and blistering solos, Bob will also perform a few tricks….to make sure he has your attention.  At Down Under, Bob played right-handed, left-handed, one-handed, and two guitars at once.  He played with his fret hand on top and on the bottom…..  Bob played the guitar flat in his lap….with his foot and used a table as a slide…. Pace is a true entertainer.
    5 1/2.  If you offer Bob Pace a piece of your birthday cake, he may (continue playing one-handed while)  eating birthday cake with his other hand.
  6. …All tricks aside, when Pace is scorching hot on stage, it is enthralling….
  7. Pace is a modest everyman.  He will play a smoking set, only to come off stage and ask how it was.  He will sit down and talk to you, and he will never let you convince him that he is the legend that he is.  He approaches his shows like he is still working his way up, not like an Iowa legend that has opened for (Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang), John Mayall, Johnny Winter, Delbert McClinton, Bernard Allison, Tower of Power….and others.
  8. If you have not yet experienced the Bob Pace Band in person, do not wait as long as I did.  Go to www.bobpaceband.com and find a show that fits into your schedule.  Bob Pace is an Iowa treasure, and seeing one of his shows should be on every adult Iowan’s bucket list.
  9. Once you have seen the Bob Pace Band perform live, you will see them again.  Trust me.
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Blues Revue

Bob Pace is my favorite guitarist in the world, at least tonight while I’m sitting here at the bar in Blues On Grand, one of my favorite blues clubs, watching Bob tear it up. Sure, the big festivals are great, and it’s cool to see all the name-brand artists who ply the blues trade so well, but there’s also something to be said for getting some home cookin’. You know what I’m talking about–hanging with a local band in a local club with a local crowd. Especially when the crowd gets a little tight and the band’s in the pocket and the whole thing gets cranked up a notch into….well, you know….it was a great set of smokin’ blues.

~ Chip Eagle, Blues Revue

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