Make room for a new guitar hero.

Gary Clark Jr. is his name -- and he's the hottest gunslinger in the game right now.

Sure, some have known about this talented Texan for years, maybe as far back as 2004, the year Clark delivered his full-length debut, "110." Most, however, are just catching on.

Clark's career has absolutely skyrocketed in recent years. The turning point came in 2010, when Eric Clapton chose the blues-rocker to perform with B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy and other legendary guitarists at the Crossroads Guitar Festival.

Since then, Clark has nabbed a number of high-profile gigs, including during the Albert King tribute at this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. On a local note, he turned heads at both the 2012 Bridge School Benefit concert and the 2013 Outside Lands festival.

All of that has turned Clark into a hot ticket in the concert industry. On Wednesday, he packed the 2,800-capacity Fox Theater in Oakland. There aren't many blues musicians who can draw that kind of a crowd.

And my guess is it won't be the last time these fans turn out to see Clark. The singer-musician and his three-piece backing band delivered a tremendously fulfilling two-hour set of no-frills blues-rock. There were no special effects or pyrotechnics -- except those served by Clark's incendiary guitar work. Unlike most touring acts, Clark and company didn't come equipped with fancy lighting equipment or other stage extras. They just showed up and played, figuring that whatever the Fox had on-site would be good enough.


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The result was that the Fox was transformed into the Bay Area's biggest -- and best -- blues club for one night.

The crowd was certainly in a festive mood, with fans chugging plenty of beer and playing lots of air guitar. It was evident by the amount of reverence shown to Clark that fans truly thought they were witnessing a new guitar hero.

Clark, who is still touring in support of 2012's "Blak and Blu," is much more than a straight-ahead blues player. He showed an amazing range throughout the night, wading in Muddy Waters, diving into swampy Delta, journeying through Southern rock and finding sweet home Chicago.

He's obviously also aware of what the cool kids are buying in 2013. There's a definite garage-rock undercurrent to much of his music, which approaches at times what one hears with such indie darlings as the Black Keys, Japandroids and Jack White.

The common factor in all of Clark's songs is that the guitar work is just so incredibly heavy, with notes hitting the listener like a medicine ball. In that sense, and really only that sense, Clark's playing reminds me of Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi.

Clark's playing is equally muscular and musical, a combination that separates him from so many of his contemporaries.

It's too bad if you missed Clark's show at the Fox. But you'll likely have other chances. This is one guitar hero who should be around for a long time.

Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic, Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.