Editor’s note: First described by Tahoe Onstage as the Bruce Lee of rock ‘n’ roll, Scott Pemberton will appear at Reno’s new music venue, The Trocadero Bar and Ballroom at 9 p.m. Saturday, April 8. The cover is $10. Located at 235 2nd Street, The Trocadero is part of the historic El Cortez Hotel. The art deco styled ballroom has been renovated and will feature live entertainment. Below is a review of Scott Pemberton’s concert in spring 2015 at Lake Tahoe.
The laces on his black high-top basketball shoes were untied and the jeans around his skinny legs were faded and fastened at the waist by a belt buckle with the initials “S.P.” It was the hippie superhero called Timber Rocker, who wears a tie-dyed, tank-top shirt and a ballcap that reads “Local Logger Lager.”
Looking out from behind the beard, a whimsical gleam in his eyes had all the confidence of Stevie Ray Vaughan standing next to a mountaintop poised to chop it down with the edge of his hand.
The frenetic musician danced, darted and crawled around a barstool, attacking with his fingers from every possible angle the guitar that sat atop it.
The sign on the marquee at the said it was Scott Pemberton. But he jammed like Jerry Garcia, was as funky as James Brown and as quick as Damian Lillard.
Perhaps the Timber Rocker from Rip City arrived at the Hard Rock stage after watching his hometown Portland Trailblazers cut down the Clippers in the NBA playoffs. Looking like a Pied Piper John Muir hiking into the Sierra Nevada, the man with a guitar that had no strap stepped upon the stage and the room filled in an instant with nearly 400 fans. Pemberton has built a following in the area with numerous appearances at Lake Tahoe, Placerville’s Hangtown Halloween and Quincy’s High Sierra Music Festival.
During a performance that lasted until the midnight curfew, Pemberton and his virtuoso bandmates with buildups and crescendos played seemingly every kind of music that has germinated from rock ‘n’ roll: funk, metal, surf, pop, hip-hop and jam.
It was everything but the Beatles, until the second-to-last song. That’s when the Scott Pemberton Band played a scorching, psychedelic arrangement of “Dear Prudence.”
No longer the Scott Pemberton Trio, or SP3, the group is now a quartet with resonating yet not overpowering rhythm from drummer Sam Berrett and bassist Tony Glaser. Rudy Slizewski mostly played the steel pans, but he banged on myriad instruments. In fact, the sports book on the casino floor had the over-under on the number of instruments Slizewski would play at 16. Bettors who took the over were victorious when, during the last song, the percussionist played a solo with drumsticks on the brim of his hat.
As the song goes, there was plenty of elbow grease and sweaty brows during a dance-filled night of smiles and laughter.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Pemberton told the gleeful crowd after the final encore.
Earlier, Pemberton announced his next nearby appearance would be at High Sierra, and all the hippies cheered. Everyone at the show was a hippie.
Related story: Scott Pemberton Band recording live album on its Western tour. LINK