Live Review: Head Honchos at The Spot Studio in Valparaiso, IN

Material: The Head Honchos play originals and they cover classic-oriented rock, with a blues and jam edge. They are heavily inspired by the spirit of greats like The Allman Brothers Band, The Outlaws, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Kinsey Report, Wishbone Ash and many others. The band’s writing is prolific, with six-string ear candy such as the smoldering “Mean Old World,” the funky shuffle “All We Need is Love,” the gritty “Mr. Bad” and the brisk twin guitar attack of “We Will Win.” They also pepper their set with fan favorites like Molly Hatchet’s “Dreams” and ZZ Top’s “La Grange.”

Musicianship: The father and son aural assault of the Caliparis is a beautiful thing to experience. Their blend of familial simpatico and high-wire technique bursts through from the first note. Rocco Sr. plays a “stars and stripes” studded Telecaster and has a classic, rich tone and approach that seems to summon  icons like Roy Buchanan and Jim McCarty. Rocco Jr. wields a sleek custom axe and provides a nice mix of jazzy improvisation and rock & roll theatrics. The rhythm section is, at once, complementary, yet flamboyant. Bassist Mike Boyle has a beefy tone and is a funk machine. He turns up the heat when called upon or can subtly lay in the pocket and groove. Having that backbone gives drummer-vocalist Will Wyatt a chance to step out in a big way. With flailing sticks in the air and one-handed rolls, Wyatt is a showman. But his smooth, jazz-based feel and light touch gives the band a well-measured kick. In addition, he is a soulful vocalist and he even works some harmonica into the act.

Performance: The band’s approach to this live stream had all the ambience of a concert performance. The sequencing of songs was well-paced and the lighting and audio balance was superb. They are a meat and potatoes rock and blues band that puts the emphasis on strong hooks, danceable grooves and a down-to-earth demeanor. The opener “Not for Me” grabbed one’s immediate attention as Rocco Sr. deftly worked his wah-wah pedal. There was a wonderful exchange between the guitarists that carried throughout their hour long set. They also dove into their deep tracks toolbox for a flawless cover of “Evil” by Motor City-influenced rockers Cactus.

Summary: The Head Honchos are a solid outfit that is the total package of style, substance and showmanship. And, based on the chat room and number of views, these guys possess a rock and blues pedigree that really connects with their fans.

Contact: [email protected]

Web: theheadhonchosband.com

Players: Rocco Calipari, Sr., guitar, lead vocals; Rocco Calipari, Jr., guitar; Mike Boyle, bass; Will Wyatt, drums, backup vocals, harmonica