Blue Robot

The Autoport Got The SkyTop Blues

Posted by Aaron Wynne on 10/25 at 11:55 AM

Last Saturday Patrick Cognitore and the SkyTop Blues rocked the Autoport with good old fashioned electric blues.

I was a bit skeptical at first. The first two songs, including a cover of “Every Day I Have The Blues,” seemed dull and bland. I was waiting for the flare to come, and by the fourth song, it did. A cover of Freddie King’s “Going Down” showed the band’s electric style. Cognitore executed a kicking bass solo on his six-string. Meanwhile vocalist Mike Wilks had a style all his own. Singing with a blues growl, his outfit consisted of a tuxedo, sunglasses, and a black fidora along with a dressed up microphone stand to add some spunk to the stage. He thoroughly immersed himself into the rhythm, and even threw in some funky dance moves.

However what impressed me most, and was the clear focal point of the band, was guitarist Anthony Stauffer. He administered tactful solos throughout the band’s performance and showed exemplary prowess. He seemed to one-up his repertoire with each additional song. Starting with a cover of “Red House” by Jimi Hendrix , the solos were proficiently dispatched with an excellent use of effects peddles to bring the song justice. Following that, the band went for a double-shot of Jimi with a cover of “Voodoo Child” where Stauffer continued to cleverly orchestrate a display of guitar mastery, and Cognitore added his own licks with a nice bass solo. After the back-to-back Jimi covers, the guitarist seemed determined to show more of what he could do by taking over lead vocals on a cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Pride and Joy” while simultaneously keeping the guitar fresh.

It was definitely the right band to spark the atmosphere and crowd at the Autoport. The smaller crowd seemed to give a more hearty response to the band. It was a different scene than downtown State College, but I found myself welcome and happy to be there. The band is probably better geared for a venue like the Autoport, but I could see them having success at a place like the State Theatre, or maybe even the Phyrst.

Overall it was a solid performance. My only qualm was when the band came back from break and played a few numbers such as “Mustang Sally,” I found myself saturated by sameness. Stauffer consistently showed flare with solo after solo, and occasionally Cognitore provided some freshness, but overall it seemed a bit repetitive. Maybe it was because they were without guitarist Richard Wylie, or maybe because I’m just not used to that much blues.

However there is no doubt that SkyTop Blues is a talented bunch. At the end of the day, they’re sure to entertain.

{name} Author: Aaron Wynne
Bio: Aaron is a senior at The Pennsylvania State University and is originally from Wells, Maine. He is studying public relations and psychology. His hobbies include playing music, particularly bass, playing and watching sports, and watching movies, his current favorite being Inception. His music tastes are wide spread but his favorites include progressive metal, experimental rock, instrumental rock, and alternative. His favorite bands currently consist of Between the Buried and Me, Animals as Leaders, Red Sparowes, and Dysrhythmia.


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