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Friday, November 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 14.0° F  Overcast
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Clovis Mann

Power trios occupy a sanctified place in the history of rock 'n' roll, and there's nothing mysterious about why Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Blue Cheer, the Nice and the original Motörhead have a special niche reserved for them in the temple. When they're on their game, the thrilling, sexually charged raison d'être of the devil's music receives full expression. It's as if all the possibilities of a young, hopeful life are wrapped up in the simple interactions of bass, drums and guitar (and in the case of the Nice, electric keyboard).

This is the tradition local practitioners Clovis Mann work in and plainly revere. They add few new wrinkles to it. In fact, you get the sense that as long as they've managed to whip up the mood-altering mix of testosterone and endorphins that made Hendrix's work simultaneously earthy and cosmic, they've reached their own personal nirvana. Which is fine. Because it's the blood-quickening essence of the music that matters here, not the notes or the words from which it's constructed. And from the first adamantine blues-rock figure that sets the heavy, masculine vibe of the majestically atavistic road song "Highway's End" to the skiffling acoustic guitar that drives the Allmans-inspired down-home blues of "Whisky Still," Clovis Mann drink deeply of that elixir. More power to 'em for that.

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