Attention, Chicago Blues Fest programmers: Please book Gary Clark Jr. as a headliner in 2013. He could single-handedly make that fading festival relevant again.
In the meantime, the young Texas guitar slinger owned the Petrillo stage (a.k.a. the PlayStation stage) at Lollapalooza this afternoon as a packed crowd, some of them surprisingly young dudes carrying the torch in their Blues Fest and Sun Records T-shirts, basked in the perfect summer weather.
The twentysomething Clark laid down an hour's worth of rave-ups, dusties and Delta callbacks with the occasional hint of Hendrix, his searing, soaring solos perfectly complemented by silky smooth vocals that delivered a powerful kick when needed.
The only thing that detracted from the assured set was Petrillo's underpowered sound system. The remedy was to push in closer to the front. At point-blank range, Clark and his crack ensemble evoked a smoky 3am feeling, quite a feat in the middle of a bright, hot day in Grant Park.