A sold-out crowd of acoustic aficionados reveled in a very unique show at Slim’s in San Francisco when Trace Bundy and his young South Korean buddy Sungha Jung held court. The 17 year-old YouTube sensation from Seoul who first captured Bundy’s attention ten years ago with a video performance of one of Bundy’s toughest solo arrangements took the stage to a wildly enthusiastic audience including a host of young ladies who gave Jung welcome like the Beatles at JFK in 1964. Jung said little and sang not a note. His prowess on a Lakewood was all he needed. Jung showcased classical and modern acoustic chops on a few new originals, and hit high points on a rendition of “Over the Rainbow” that he credited to Pete Huttlinger. Jung’s unique take on the dramatic “Phantom of the Opera” was a crowd pleaser, as was a set closing duet with Bundy on “Sweet Child O’Mine.”
Bundy’s show was incredibly creative, informative, and entertaining. The infectious acoustic manipulator was also a terrific troubadour. Like a magician who lets the audience in on his act before each trick, Bundy explained everything from his overall guitar concept, to the way he utilizes echoes and loops, to the techniques he employs. His detailed explanations about utilizing open tunings and multiple capos made players and fans alike feel invested. His cover arrangements were innovative, and his insights on the origins of his originals made them feel instantly familiar. He floored sports fans with his rendition of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” theme that won him a spot on the actual show. He whipped out his iPhone and played a spot-on version of “Beat It” using the PocketGuitar app. On his own song, “Joy and Sorrow,” Bundy alternated back and forth between his custom McPherson tuned to D major and Jung’s Lakewood tuned to D minor. It was easy to see why Bundy plays bigger venues on each tour. In his hands, the acoustic guitar was an imagination station, and there was no telling where he was going take the audience at any given turn. Thrilling stuff.
Making moving music via multiple capos.
Bundy plays a PocketGuitar version of “Beat It.”
Bundy and Jung together on “Sweet Child O’Mine.”
Bundy takes advantage of his acoustic’s built-in microphone.
Jung employs a plucking hand pinky tap.
Bundy’s panoramic shot from the stage of a sold-out Slim’s.
Photos by Jimmy Leslie (except crowd shot by Trace Bundy)