Eric Gales likes to keep things real. Before playing a note at Brooklyn Bowl, he bared his soul, telling fans how he had spent most of his life abusing just about every substance he could get his hands on. He’s been clean for two years now and celebrating by playing hard-edged blues and rock with an intensity that has built a loyal following. “I hope your seat backs and tray tables are in the upright position because we’re about to take off,” he said. “I hope you survive the ride.”

Gales plays it left-hand, like his idol Jimi, to whom he’s been compared. Born in Memphis and considered a guitar prodigy, Gales graciously welcomed New York’s own prodigy, Taz Niederauer, now 15 years old but who’s played with many of the greats since appearing in Broadway’s School of Rock at age 12. Together, the duo traded licks and took the energy level to a higher altitude, especially on their cover of “Little Wing.” In addition to the frontmen, the band features rock-solid bass and drums, none more impressive than Eric’s beautiful wife, LaDonna, on percussions.

Opening the evening was Marcus Randolph, familiar as the drummer of cousin Robert Randolph’s Family Band, but for his Peeple’s Peeple project, Marcus plays pedal steel and sings. Joining in the Peeple’s band was Joey Williams, also a regular with Robert and current member of the Blind Boys of Alabama. If you’re getting the feeling that the stage was filled with lots of diverse talent coming together to explore new musical paths, you would be correct. It was a long and loud evening at Brooklyn Bowl, and after the show, Gales hung out with fans in a scene that has become part of the reason he’s developed such a strong following. We’re glad to see a talent like Eric Gales at the top of his game and enjoying life.