BY CAREY WILSON FOR 'CHICO NEWS AND REVIEW'
"To kick off the night, the local Michael Russell Trio (with Russell on guitar/vocals; Ben Colbeck, bass; Garrett Smart, drums/vocals) played a brand of electric blues that drew on such forebears and contemporary artists as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pat Travers and Gary Clark Jr. The trio laid down a selection of Fender Stratocaster-fueled jams that at times emulated their influences and occasionally ascended into moments that revealed their own perspective on how to rock the blues.
Russell’s guitar playing effectively exploited the tonal variations to be be wrung from an electric guitar by way of subtle, crafty manipulations of the tone and volume knobs with his pinky finger while playing. The surprise high point for this rocker was when drummer/singer Garrett Smart took over vocals for a cover of Elton John’s classic “Saturday Night’s Alright (for Fighting),” which gave Russell a chance to cut loose with a rocking solo that drew revelers off their seats and onto the dance floor."