Dan Patlansky Guitar warmed The Fleece for Walter Trout
Tonight was a sold-out show weeks ago. Everyone knew tonight was about the guitar. Opening the night was South African Dan Patlansky. He launched straight into the red-hot licks and scintillating riffs reminding anyone who had forgotten just how good he is. As he launched into Namaste/Love City we were mesmerised and absorbed into the performance. The tempo was heating up as we were immersed into Sonova Faith from Introvertigo. We then took a detour with the BB King number that showed Dan the path his life should take, playing Blues Guitar. His Strat purred and shrieked as he put his touch on You Upset Me. I can say with certainty no-one was upset by this rendition from one of the Blues great’s discography. Then we were treated to a double helping from Introvertigo, Stop The Messin’/ Heartbeat. The latter giving the keys a work out along with his wonderful rhythm section; without this platform his guitar could not soar.
Once again, Dan shows he is not just about the guitar as he coaxes a range of tones that complements his vocals that spit out or cajole the lyrics with emotions that connect with everyone. The highlight of his short opening set has to be his Slow Blues. Once again Big Things Going Down from Move My Soul released back in 2009 was sensational the emotion and energy was controlled through the mastery of his battered white Strat. The popular Backbite preceded his closing number. We saw and heard his acrobatics as he released the strap and used every part of the guitar. What an entertainer with an instrumental entrance, instrumental exit framing another exceptional set from a talented player who was delighted to open for one of his guitar hero’s Walter Trout. Tonight was an exploration of his music, nothing new but a little bird told me that he is back in the UK in 2020 with a new album as well.
Short break time for friends to catch up and the anticipation grew as the time for Walter and his band to walk on stage came closer. The buzz at The Fleece was pure excitement coloured by admiration for a true guitar great.
No setlist but Walter Trout had a plan as we dipped into a discography that spans the many years. Walter has been gracing stages with his own band, Canned Heat and one of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers for nearly fifty years. Half a century of bringing pleasure to many as the power of live music is captivating. Tonight Walter was on top form surrounded by a band that understand his every move and kick of his leg. Once again the rhythm section drummer extraordinaire Michael Leasure and the dynamic bassist Johnny Griparic and in the darkest corner of the stage on keys Teddy Zigzag.
As with any Walter set the guitar took centre stage and tonight it shone with an energy that fizzed with the joy that Walter brings to the stage whenever he plays. The set comprised of silky authentic electric blues interspersed with blasts of blues with rocks on. The highlight of the set was Walter’s rendition of Me My Guitar & The Blues; what a fantastic number from his album Survivor Blues.
Walter is so much more than his superlative guitar playing he shares so much of himself when he talks to the audience and sings the lyrics. He gave a heart-wrenching context of the next number. The playing and especially the lyrics drenched The Fleece with an emotional outpouring from his 2012 album Blues For A Modern Daze as he sang Saw My Mama Cryin dedicated to his mother what a strong woman. Two songs that work perfectly together, Welcome To The Human Race and Common Ground. The lyrics of Welcome to The Human Race, from Outsider, are superb as he fights back to naysayers, tonight critics had a special mention! From the 2010 album of the same name with lyrics that shape the guitar playing of Common Ground. We were now captivated in the Trout Zone of delight.
We dipped into Battle Scars. The album that mentally healed the scars of his illness and lifesaving liver transplant as Walter and the boys play Fly Away he captured the intensity of being visited by white shining spirits and deciding he wanted to live.
Early on in the evening, Andrew Elt joined Walter adding his vocals that are always exciting and his guitar playing is special whether on Acoustic or on his red electric. His interplay with Johnny is wonderful to watch if you can take your eyes of the maestro on stage Walter. Now we are treated to a Walter jam as he is joined by a young man from Bristol who is making a name for himself Senna Weeks. We were treated to 12-bar blues in E as the blues baton is picked up by the younger generation.
We stepped back into the past back to 1961 when Walter wanted to play Jazz Trumpet. But having heard Bob Dylan he made the decision to play guitar, a good move as we hear Walter’s version of I Shall Be Released. Now for me a perfect moment my favourite track from Survivor Blues, Red Sun by an unknown bluesman Floyd Lee, who played in coffee shops and busked. What has he done with his first royalty fee – why he bought a new guitar for once he earned something from the music business!
All too soon the show was over Walter had played for over ninety minutes but we are greedy we wanted more… and Walter didn’t disappoint coming back on stage with the boys for a blues guitar masterclass.