Although he's shared the stage with bonafide Guitar God Yngwie Malmsteen and firmly established his credentials as a virtuoso equally comfortable with shred , surf or blues, Gary Hoey
is the single most approachable rocker you're likely to encounter. The Gary Hoey Band took the stage at the Ventura Beer, Blues & BBQ Fest and treated the enthusiastic crowd to their
own brand of blues. A powerful interpretation of Jeff Beck's "Going Down" turned nearly everyone into an air guitarist. There were some classic blues/rock originals and a very
spirited delivery of Dick Dale's "Pipeline" . Throughout, Hoey was warm and genuine in his interaction with the audience, and attentive to subtle details in tone with volume and
tone knob manipulations adding nuance to the sound.
At one point Gary called up a teenager (who had convinced his mom to drive from out of state to attend). The lad was brought to the stage and outfitted with Gary's Strat. A brief master class primer on the pentatonic scale and phrasing was given while the rhythm section kept the groove simmering. In short order the kid let the groove take him as Gary manipulated the wah . Later in the show an old biker was singing along at the foot of the stage and handed the mic to finish out the last chorus. This strong connection Hoey has with his fans is not just a gimmick. He has a genuine passion to share his love of music and the personality to instantly bond with anyone interested in music.
This was further evidenced after the set; The artists had merchandise booths and would do the meet & greet thing with fans. The line for Hoey stretched from stage one across the park to stage two. Gary remained there, until everyone who wanted to meet him had a chance. But it wasn't just sign & shake, he was having real conversations and making friends . It has been said "never meet your heroes" , and it's true that talent doesn't always belong to a nice person, in this case Gary's character showed a true generosity of spirit that matches his formidable guitar skills.