Walter Trout stunning Guitar and a Parka Plays It Live
The Tramshed was filling fast as Jared James Nichols took to the stage. What a rip-roaring dynamic set, as the saying goes what a difference a year makes. We first heard Jared live opening for Glenn Hughes his guitar playing then was superb but at times the timing was a little manic and the sound raw. Tonight we are hearing what a torch bearer for blues-rock this young guitarist from Wisconsin is carrying it high and bright. He has such control his mastery of the guitar is a mix of wild and control. Jared is full of theatrical interest with a flick of his blonde mane he comes to the front of the stage showing finger dexterity that makes sense of the cascade of notes he is playing. Denis Holm used the cowbell judiciously along with drum that growled, whilst the bass lines from Erik Sandin fitted the groove deepening the chords that allowing Jared to fly. The set was fast, entertaining warming the venue with a mix of numbers of his own including Crazy from Old Glory & Wild Revival and closing with a stupendous Mountain of a cover of Mississippi Queen which is rapidly becoming a signature number. Jared and his band are ones to watch as they shine the sparkling blues torch high.
A short break with the excitement mounting as everyone shared memories of previous Walter Trout gigs. There was a collective delight that Walter Trout was back playing live music and in Wales tonight. The applause and cheers as Walter stepped on stage was warm, heartfelt we were welcoming a guitarist we love to hear playing, a friend and well-loved member of the blues fraternity. The set was full of blues with lengthy numbers and at the heart of the set were several tracks from Battle Scars. The songs were long, guitar breaks intense what you know he delivers blues that is full of interest strong lyrics and the journey he takes us on with his magic treatment of the Fenders six-strings.
Walter is at home on the stage the band that surrounds the guitar gives the sound depth and tonal interest, with Sammy Avila on Keys and the rhythm section consisting of bassist Johnny Griparic and drummer Micheal Leasure this is a band that loves playing the music that sets them on fire. The title may have been Out Of Control, but Walter was in total control, delighted to be on a stage in Wales, the atmosphere in the Tramshed was full of love there is no doubt the Welsh crowd and those that traveled far and wide were relishing every note he played. We were treated to a masterclass of controlled intricate blues/rock guitar with a wonderful tribute to B B King with Say Good Bye To The Blues. You almost forgot about the great supporting musicians that make up his band he is the centre of everyone’s attention he is the Trout Lord of the stage yet it is their skills that ensure Walter can strut his stuff with ease and confidence.
The audience wanted to hear Walter play tracks from Battle Scars, we wanted to share the painful journey of the Liver Transplant as told through his music and celebrate the power and determination of Walter. We were rewarded with stories of his journey the resulting Battle Scars album. The songs are dark, graphic, dirty blues on an album where the tracks when played live take them to another level. The album is stunning and emotional live it is a supernova of emotional playing, that at its heart is a truth full of pain and love the essence of the blues.
There was a lot of emotion on the stage as he played Almost Gone the opening track of the album. This is blues that address the pain of reaching the lowest ebb. This is explored in Please Take Me Home, a pleading reprise he asked his wife Marie. Her strength gave him the energy to stay and wait for a replacement liver. Thank you Marie, for your strength and allowing us to share moments with Walter once again on stage playing Blues full of the agony, ecstasy and the enduring power of love. Loneliness and isolation of lying in a hospital bed in the dark hours of the night as the lyrics of Haunted By The Night unfolds.
Tonight was not about tears, it was a celebration and Walter was joined on stage by Andrew Elt, a fantastic guitarist and vocalist and the acoustic worked so well as the shadow to Walter’s electric guitar. Andrews singing on Down Down Down was rocking good and Walter’s re-wording to Freezing My Arse was a reference to the fact he was feeling cold on stage in fact, Andrew fetched him a Parka a first for Walter playing guitar in a Parka. With warm words about the young opening guitarist, Jared was invited to join Walter on stage for a barnstorming rendition of Working Overtime quite a magical moment.
Before, he left the stage Walter made a heartfelt statement about organ transplants. Thanking the unknown donor that gave him the gift of life. Praising Wales as a country who along with Spain the only two countries in the World for having the right approach having to opt out rather than opting into organ donation. The cheers were loud and another round of applause what a night of live, emotional charged Blues-rock. Ending with Walter showing respect to his many fans and came out to chat with everyone, giving time and signing many T-shirts and albums with a gracious smile. Thank you, Walter hope you are back in Wales playing the blues we want to hear very soon.