Ayron Jones @ The Annex
After almost a year and a half away, I returned to The Annex for another great show. It is not very often that I walk into a venue overly hyped to see an artist and leave even more satisfied and stunned than I was beforehand. This show may have been one of the most impressive displays of musical talent and abilities I have ever seen.
I entered the venue I walked into the barroom and the band was just hanging out having drinks with fans and staff. A fairly uncommon sight to see these days. Extremely different than most artists these days. Especially, with covid being a thing and the Madison mask mandate in place. From there I snagged myself water since I do not drink anymore and headed into the main room. With my cameras in my hands, I watched the openers and waited anxiously right in front of Ayron’s microphone. The stage is low to the ground, maybe a foot high. There is also no barrier upfront separating the patrons and artists. During the change over I always look for the setlist and check out the details laying around. I managed to capture a beautiful image of rhythm guitarist. It was a pretty straightforward setup. They were just there to play. I respect it.
As Ayron hits the stage, the rest of the band was ready to go. The moment he plugged in they lept right into an ode to his hometown “Boys From The Pudget Sound”. The song itself is a great opener. It gives you the feels. Represent where you’re from and let everyone know it. The vibrantly robust blues-rock-sounding anthem grabbed you by the throat and commanded one’s attention from the first note. That blasting of the senses had me hooked. So much so I actually took my earplugs out to hear the set entirely without missing anything. I am glad I did. Their cover of “Breed” was astonishingly well done and seemed to be played with a wider dynamic range of sound. Dare I say it was perfect a perfect cover? Maybe, but perfection was waiting for me at the end of the night. Ayron laid out a pretty fire finger tapping melody as a lead into the intro of “Breed” and then to end it, laid out a lengthy adlibbed doodle. These guys hit on all cylinders. At one point the gentleman next to me turned and said, “Holy crap, this is epic.” I couldn’t have agreed more.
A few additional items I did manage to see while keeping my eyes glued to the masterful performance was the drummer, Bob. This man crushed it. At one point he was playing through half of “Free” with a single drum stick in hand and never losing the cadence of the song. His arms were like rubber and slammed down in such a fluid motion. It was really, fun to watch. Ayron Jones himself, at one point, used a drum stick of his to rip a gnarly solo throughout “Baptized in Muddy Waters”. He slapped strings individually, slid the stick up and down the neck, finger tapped with the stick, and absolutely crushed it with a pick to lead into a soulful outro. He and his fellow guitarist, Matt, blazed through so many guitar solos. I couldn’t get enough of it. The most impressive part was during “Take Me Away”. A technical issue forced him to replace his guitar mid-song. Despite that, the band continued on in stride and as soon as he was plugged in he led a short but wide-ranging and fret-crossing arsenal of a guitar romp. A perfect display of professional cohesiveness.
The most monumental song of the night was the final one. Who knew right? The thing about this one was the fact they covered Prince’s “Purple Rain” in full. When I say in full, I mean in full. Every little unique about it, they nailed it. I was so blown away by this performance I literally went to my phone and texted everyone I knew that was into music to check these musicians out. As someone who has lived in Minneapolis, MN, I understand his impact upon the city, state, and music itself, I couldn’t contain my amazement.
All in all, Ayron Jones and the band performed a masterclass on stage. This man ripped solo after solo in every song. I haven’t witnessed anyone do that before. After witnessing his magnificence, I managed to be one of the first people in line to meet him and purchase an album and having it autographed. What an extremely nice guy. He took the time to speak with everyone who waited around. Like I said before, he was just different from the start. I feel like I need to attend another show as soon as possible. What a great evening.
1. Boys From The Puget Sound
4. Breed (Nirvana Cover)
5. Spinning Cycles
6. Killing Season
8. Take Your Time
9. Baptized in Muddy Waters
10. My Love Remains
12. Take Me Away
13. Purple Rain (Prince Cover)