Eric Brittingham is well-known for his work as Cinderella’s bassist, but fewer have heard of newcomer Brandon Gibbs; particularly as a solo artist. He was the guitarist in The Gibbs Brothers Band, with identical twin brother Brent, before they ceased touring together in 2010. Brent wanted to pursue a different career yet they were opening for Poison, Foreigner, Trapt, The Doobie Brothers, Theory of a Deadman, Cinderella and others.
Gibbs started his solo act in 2010 with his new group, The Brandon Gibbs Band. Never having performed as a singer, he was forced to hone his voice. Long time friend Brittingham started touring with Gibbs as a duo, playing small venues, whenever Cinderella was not touring and Gibbs wasn’t busy with his band. Fans coming to the Brittingham/Gibbs show at Krazee Kafe in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, November 9, 2012, didn’t know what to expect considering the advertisements offered no explanation of the music they’d play. But the Cinderella namesake pulled in a small crowd.
The fans that night heard a few Cinderella songs, but mostly varied covers from both pop and rock genres with songs from the Foo Fighters, L.A. Guns, Guns N’ Roses and even Michael Jackson and Paramore, along with songs from The Gibbs Brothers Band and The Brandon Gibbs Band.
When the lights went down, Gibbs and Brittingham walked onto the stage and sat down on their respective stools; each resting a guitar on their laps. With a beer in each of their hands, it looked more like they were settling in just to play a few tunes and jam with some close friends.
It was evident within the first song who the star of the show was as Brittingham brings the name but Gibbs brings the talent. Focusing only on backing vocals and guitar, Brittingham appeared solemn and even bored at times; his vocals were weak and scratchy making one wonder why he was even there, but his name brings in the crowd, which gives Gibbs the attention he needs, and deserves based on the talent he presented.
Gibbs smiled expressively through each song while interacting with the crowd as he was just genuinely happy to have had the opportunity to perform that evening. His rock-n-roll sound blends a country influence making him comfortable to listen to.
Before singing Gibbs’ single, This Town, from his May 2012 EP Into the Ocean, he explained how proud he was that it was chosen as the theme music for Courtney Force’s (of the John Force Racing Team) Countdown Video. More recently ESPN signed a deal with Gibbs to use it for their NHRA division.
His best cover of the night by far was Michael Jackson’s, Billie Jean. Gibbs never attempted to make it sound like the original; slowing it down and making it his own and it in no way sounded like a pop song. This move worked in his favor as comments from the crowd were heard about not being a Jackson fan, but loving Gibbs’ version of the Jackson hit. While Gibbs appeared to have an extensive vocal range, he struggled with songs that had a distinct voice behind the original, particularly evident when he sang Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun and Cinderella’s Nobody’s Fool.
It was a simple night of a little bit ‘country and ‘rock-n-roll’, perfect for the beer drinking crowd just wanting to hear some good music. As far as some of the vocal misses, it’s to be expected, as even the most accomplished vocalist would struggle with covering such a wide variety of others’ songs. As he develops more of his own material, and if the masses find it appealing, he will need fewer cover songs to complete his set-list.
Watch the Courtney Force Countdown video, using Gibbs’ song This Town