On his latest tour, Cory Wong returned to Vulfpeck’s Ann Arbor home, playing to a sold-out crowd at The Blind Pig.
Emily C. Browning opened the stage. From New Zealand, her Spotify page says her music is intended as “an electric experience that you won’t know you were looking for until you hear it,” and that is exactly what we got. With a unique mix of jazz, soul, and funk, Emily’s style was refreshing and entertaining, and her own guitar skills were something of marvel. Starting her set with a couple covers and original songs that set the vibe for Cory Wong, his band came out and joined her for a couple more rocking songs before Cory Wong himself came onstage. The chemistry between Cory and Emily resulted in a phenomenal soundscape that had everyone swaying and jamming.
After a little break, Cory Wong and his band came back out, rocking some team athletic gear. Along with many, unbelievable guitar riffs, Cory put on a performance in between songs with a number of jokes that required crazy setups. He also emphasized his need to sell merch, playing several clips throughout the show. As the “millennial ambassador to smooth jazz,” he certainly infused an appreciation for smooth jazz and funk with his incredible songs and technique. Watching his extraordinary right hand picking technique in person was surreal, an impressive skill unrivaled by any other guitarist.
For a wonderful surprise, Vulfpeck’s singing guitarist, drummer, and syncopation master Theo Katzman joined Cory onstage for a funky collaboration. As Emily C. Browning came onstage again to close out the set with Cory, probably the best people that joined Cory’s performance were the two green inflatable tube men that summed up Cory’s personality, music, and stage presence.
The crowd was jamming the entire night, getting excited at the immense talent that Cory Wong and everyone in his band, particularly the drummer, brought to the stage. The excitement surrounding Cory Wong and his reputation as a guitarist is not one to be understated, and the electric funk energy that he brings is certainly contagious in the best of ways.