19 months after his last appearance at the venue, blues prodigy, Quinn Sullivan made his return to The Falcon in Marlboro, NY this past Thursday night. The Falcon, a ticketless venue that kindly, yet sternly, encourages the tipping of the artists who play there, is a strong supporter of #SupportLivingArtists. A rustic sit-down dinner-type spot an hour and a half or so north of NYC, the room is THE place to be for fans of classic rock and soul.
Quinn Sullivan, who has played with legends such as Buddy Guy and Santana, drew a standing-room-only crowd for the evening. He drew a respectable crowd for his show there in November 2021, but perhaps a mix of exposure from touring with rocker Beth Hart last year, as well as consistently excellent solo performances in similar venues such as Daryl’s House and The Iridium has caused word of mouth to spread like wildfire.
As per usual, a majority of the crowd consisted of hardened classic rock and blues fans, likely more familiar with Sullivan’s stellar covers of artists like Eric Clapton, George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix than his original material. Of course, his original music, mostly cuts from 2021 album Wide Awake, gets more time to shine at these shows, but he makes sure to sprinkle in a cover every few songs throughout the near hour and 40-minute set.
He opened the show with the Sonny Boy Williamson tune “Eyesight To The Blind,” as he has done all year thus far. The song is just electric enough, but not overwhelmingly so, to let the audience know what they’re in for for the night. He then moved into original tracks “Strawberry Rain” and “All Around The World,” two of the most dynamic songs from the record. His high vocal run at the end of “Strawberry Rain,” which he sometimes dodges live, was strong and fluid… his best in recent memory. He was feeling himself a bit more during “She’s So Irresistible” as well, getting down and dirty with every, “She’s so hyperventilating /Every move she makes/Think I wanna make her mine/She’s alright.” This added touch of grit makes the guitar solo that concludes the song that much more affecting.
“All Around The World,” Sullivan’s hopeful, cathartic anthem wishing for peace from political and global affairs tensions, was another highlight. The extended guitar solo at the tail end saw him do that thing he does… eyes closed, slightly hunched forward, hair occasionally whipping back and forth. A complete and utter loss of any reality other than what he is playing in that moment. Some musicians work their whole life to possess a fraction of that kind of focus and out-of-body connection to their instrument and their music… Sullivan, at 24 years old, taps in and out of it like he’s going Super Saiyan.
Rousing covers of The Stones’ “Loving Cup,” a relatively new addition to the set, as well as fan favorite “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” by Derek and the Dominoes, picked the crowd up considerably. Sullivan knows his audience and knows how much they eat up the fact that, somehow, this “kid” knows these old tunes. So he leans into it, and why wouldn’t he?
He debuted new song “Dark Love,” set for release before the end of the year, and the song lives up to its name. Sullivan dives back into the persona he embodies on a track like “She’s So Irresistible,” going for a dark, sexually explicit mystique, and he nails it.
While Sullivan is, undoubtedly, the star of the show, his band is equally as top-notch. His onstage relationship with drummer Bennett Vee is near symbiotic, with Vee’s playing serving as the thumping heartbeat of Sullivan’s masterful guitar work. Bassist Kyle Spark never misses the mark and, out of everyone onstage, is most comfortably and suitably able to follow Sullivan’s patterns. Overall, every member is critical to the operation and is, somehow, able to understand Sullivan’s often wordless communication.
“In A World Without You,” the most raucous tune from Wide Awake in a live setting, on this occasion, fell just short of epic. However, it was, as always, an excellent closer of the main set. The group took the stage once more for rousing covers of Bryan Adams’ “Summer Of ’69,” which seamlessly bled into Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.” Apart from the Stones and Clapton covers, the crowd never truly grabbed hold of the material, but that did not stop Sullivan and his band from giving them all a head start on what was, hopefully, a memorable 4th of July weekend.
Stream Wide Awake and Sullivan’s remaining discography:
You can catch Quinn Sullivan on tour throughout the rest of the summer:
- Eyesight To The Blind (Sonny Boy Williamson cover)
- Strawberry Rain
- All Around The World
- She’s So Irresistible
- How Many Tears
- Loving Cup (The Rolling Stones cover)
- She’s Gone (And She Ain’t Coming Back)
- You’re The One (with interpolation of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston)
- Real Thing
- Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad (Derek and the Dominoes cover)
- Dark Love (New Song, Live debut)
- Wide Awake
- In A World Without You (with interpolation of “Maria Maria” by Santana)
- Summer of ‘69/Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Bryan Adams/Elton John cover)