The venue was buzzing with that special vibe that only waiting for live music to begin with friends and fellow lovers of the music that is all about.
The Cornish blues-rock trio Wille and The Bandits got the night off to a rip-roaring start with their distinctive and truly unique quirky re-interpretation of blues and folk. They are genre agnostic as the music flows with an energy, fluency and a connection with the audience. This a trio that re-defines three musicians playing together, after years on the road since their debut album New Breed was released in 2010 and a further six albums. The excitement grows as their upcoming album Paths release date, 1st February 2019 is only weeks away. They are a band that excels playing live on the stage. They weave a collective magic, Wille with his fabulous slide guitar, using the six-string bass with his pedals Matt weaves some progressive chords through the mix and Drew a drummer/percussionist that holds and stretches the beats driving the rock into the blues that glues the sounds together. However good listening to Black Magic Woman Live from their album Living free. They are the real deal and energy is found being in the same room as the Bandits. This is an exceptional take on Peter Green’s classic song with innovative percussion, and holding all the tonal textures together is Wille upfront with his gravelly vocals and scintillating slide guitar. The set is far too short but perfectly formed with the audience delighted as the music was drawing to an end with glimpses of the new album and highlights of past gigs they achieved what opening acts are tasked to do. They turned up the temperature at the Robin 2; left the audience delighted to be out listening to live music and wanting more and we certainly had more to come. Tonight Wille and The Bandits re-confirmed for many and found new fans with a special re-working of Blues-rock with so much more tonal depth and interest.
Short break the anticipation was heating up and the venue was united in their demand to hear Walter Trout on his first UK date on a short UK Tour. He hit the ground running, age and health issues have not dimmed the blues flame that ignites the fender blues generating machine that is Walter Trout. The atmosphere was as electric as the blues. Opening with the title track of his 2012 album Life in The Jungle we were off on a musical journey that has shaped and set Walter on a path of discovery, and re-birth. As expected the set was littered with wonderful blues riffs, hooks that connected you to the lyrics and licks that showered you with the power and wonder as the six strings unfold its mysteries under the master’s fingers. Tonight there was a new face behind the keys Teddy Zigzag who has a big hole to fill with the departure of the amazing Sammy Avila. On stage providing the rhythms that cascade and shape the sting of the Fender are drummer extraordinaire Michael Leasure and the dynamic bassist Johnny Griparic. What a trio of superb musician surround Walter’s guitar and vocals with depth and tones that soared out across the venue; holding everyone in the powerful grip that live music brings.
Walter, always is truly joyful that an audience turns out to hear him play live and share the joy of the blues with him. We are the privileged ones we are like his latest album replete with a roll call of blues guitarists and musicians who want to share the joy with Walter. As the album title says We Are All In This Together, united in the moment with love, joy and music. Tonight we were told a secret, Walter excitedly announced a new album is due out in January 2019, Survivor Blues. If the track we heard Me, My Guitar and the Blues, is a window into the album we are going to be mesmerized from the first note to the end. Live, it was one of those live music moments where you hold your breath let the music be absorbed through your pores and find the hairs on the back of neck tingle with pure satisfaction and pleasure. Walter Trout is a survivor, he has overcome and every day is a miraculous gift. Every gig he plays is a wondrous celebration of life. Walter makes everything he plays seem so effortless!! As he pours emotion, blues feel and that special sound he achieves with his cream Fender plugged straight into his Mesa Boogie amp.
The set included tracks from his acclaimed album Battle Scars, which was his therapeutic journey as he grew stronger after his liver transplant, regaining the power he bestows on the guitar. The most moving is always Please Take Me Home, we all owe Marie his wife a debt of gratitude for keeping the flicker of hope burning until the liver transplant became a reality. He tells his story owning that it was his lifestyle playing with Canned Heat and beyond that are integral to him being confined to a hospital bed for eight months and looking at his mortality, captured in the words “I Ain’t Ready For the Cold Cold Ground”. He acknowledges with gratitude Blind Willie Johnson for the words Cold Cold Ground. The history of blues lives on with a thread that is bright blue and strong. He says these songs are sad, maudlin yet, they are also uplifting positive reaffirmation on the power of being alive.
The mood changed as longtime Andrew Elt, who for a long time has been an integral part of the Trout entourage joins Walter on stage for a rip-roaring rendition of his classic Hideaway. Andrew was not the only guest appearance tonight. As John Mayall’s brother, Rod Mayall, joining the band on keys linking back to the days when Walter played in the Bluesbreakers and John Mayall was his mentor. They played Blues for Jimmy T. Walter wrote this song as a tribute Jimmy Trapp, from his We Are All In This Together album. What a number another for our live music special memory bank. Walter Trout just keeps on giving. We had Down, Down, Down a perennial number that always is a crowd pleaser as a parting gift tonight.
Once again, Walter Trout and the musicians he surrounds himself with provided a night of live music that will stay with everyone in the audience for a long time to come.
Catch Walter on tour if you can he will not disappoint, and make sure you get there for doors opening so you do not miss a note of the really Special Guests Wille and the Bandits