Hotel Cafe November 17 2023 by Harriet Kaplan

It was only almost two years ago, when LMN&R was on hand to review Quinn Sullivan, who at the time, was opening for the powerhouse blues and rock/force of nature vocalist Beth Hart, at the Saban Theater. The young upcoming blues and rock singer/songwriter/prodigy and guitarist delivered a competent, likable, and listenable performance overall. Ultimately, though, it was a soft, slick, and mainstream affair. 

But his most recent first headlining show and first time playing in Los Angeles, CA., at Hotel Cafe on November 17th at the Second Stage, was far different. It seems time changes everything. Based on this show, Quinn Sullivan has grown rapidly on every level. He is far more confident and self-assured as a live performer. Even the songs seem more engrossing and exciting as does his guitar playing. His rich, deep vocals have matured and draw the listener in dramatically to his songs. The crowd was really hooked, responded favorably to the music, and was really enjoying the show seeing the ascent of this rising star at the small intimate haven for singer/songwriters and bands.

Sullivan remains a friendly and likable presence but there is an edge, drive, and passion now apparent in his demeanor and the way he plays his instrument with a potency and power that captivated the many fans that came out to see him lay down serious searing and driving licks. 

There was a lot of fire power that ignited and propelled Sullivan’s music in the way of his supporting dynamic and sensational  backing band with Adam Tressler on guitar, Kyle Spark on bass, Chris Bloniarz on keyboards and Adam Hanson on drums. 

The eight-song set featured a lot of material from his last album “Wide Awake” (“Strawberry Rain” “Baby Please” and “She’s Gone” that has gotten critical acclaim and a number of singles including his most recent “Salvation (Make Me Want To Pray)” that is draw a lot of attention notably for “a personal journey and awakening.” It also speaks to an underpinning of romantic infatuation. He also played great cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s  “Eyesight to Blind.” 

Fans could be heard whispering they were extremely impressed by the set and stellar performance of Sullivan and his impressive musical chops. There was a line of people waiting to greet and talk to Sullivan after him and his band finished performing. He graciously spoke to each and every one as they told him they loved his music and were bowled over by the show and shared moments that meant so much to them. This speaks to the strength of the magic and talent of Quinn Sullivan and his ability and gifts to connect with his audience on a visceral level that is undeniably coupled with that emotional sucker punch to the heart and soul. 

Quinn Sullivan will perform next at Narrows Center for The Arts in Fall River, MA on December 30th.

Set List 

  1. Dark Love
  2. Strawberry Rain 
  3. Eyesight to the Blind – Sonny Boy Williamson cover 
  4. Baby Please  
  5. Salvation 
  6. She’s Gone 
  7. Don’t Wanna Die Today
  8. In a World Without You

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