Walter Trout Live - Review
August 01, 2016
Review by Sonic Abuse
Photo: Mick Schofield
The Robin 2 in Bilston (just outside of Wolverhampton) is one of those legendary venues that seems to exist in a little time bubble all of its own. A 700 capacity venue, it feels rammed to the rafters even before the support act takes to the stage and the venue continues to fill until it starts to resemble a giant, sweltering sauna by the time the main act appears. That the venue is full, and that the air is charged with a sense of expectation, should come as no surprise for we are here to witness Walter Trout take to the stage on the back of his quite astounding ‘Battle Scars’ album. However, today is not just about Walter. As a wonderful treat, Walter has bought along the whole family and the opening act is the Trout Brothers, and the sense of love and community, both on stage and off, for this family trip is something to behold.
Photo : Mick Schofield
Introduced by Marie Trout, the Trout Brothers came together to make music, at least in part, to come to terms with their father’s ailing health. Whilst Walter languished in fear for his life, his sons set about connecting themselves to his music and his legacy and the results are astounding. So impressive is the band’s set that the usual, somewhat patronising, ‘for their age’ epitaph can be entirely dispensed with – the Trout brothers would be impressive at any age and their short set is charged with energy and excitement. Although rooted in the blues, the Trout brothers bring their own influences to the mix with the result that their set incorporates elements of blues, hard rock, grungy psychedelia and more. Songs like ‘American Dream’ shine, whilst ‘Lord have mercy’ (featuring a paint-stripping vocal performance from Andrew Elt) is a genuine show-stopper that has the entire venue charged with the power of the performance. The final track has a Hendrix-infused punch to it and both Mike and John Trout have clearly inherited their father’s prowess on guitar. The biggest surprise, however, comes from Dillon who, at the age of thirteen, drums like he fell out of the womb clutching a pair of sticks. In short, the Trout Brothers are a band who are supporting their father very much on their own merits and not as a result of their name and, should they choose to continue on this path, there is no question that they will make their own unique mark on the music world in the future.
Photo: Mick Schofield
Although Walter returned to touring, and to the UK, in 2015, it is still emotional to see the man on stage after so severe a health scare. Still marked by his experiences, Walter’s energy and humour are both in full evidence tonight and the show is a cathartic experience that sees Walter transcend the morbid detail of the ‘battle scars’ album, recounting his life-altering experiences in a manner that is life-affirming rather than self-pitying. Opening with a short set of Walter classics including an absolutely mind-blowing ‘Outta control’ (“when I play that song I feel like I’m 21, when I finish, I feel like I’m 121!” quips Walter having effectively reduced the venue to so much rubble) and a poignant tribute to B.B. King in the form of ‘Say goodbye to the blues’. These are wonderful, timeless songs – songs that will live on beyond Walter and his band in the hearts of every blues fan, and to hear them played with such energy brightens the spirit in a manner that is impossible to explain to those for whom music is not a driving passion – it’s an indefinable joy (and one that brings goose-bumps to the skin) to hear this man dig into his guitar with the same vitality that drives his young sons and the temperature in the venue easily shoots up a few more degrees.
At the heart of this tour is the epic ‘battle scars’ album (represented on the current ‘Alive in Amsterdam’ LP) and much of the album appears in the mid-section of the set (“if you came here feeling good, you won’t be soon!” warns Walter) and yet tracks like ‘almost gone’ and ‘haunted by the night’, despite their visceral detail, are set to some of the best music of Walter’s impressive career. Highlights from this portion of the set include two songs where son John joins the band for ‘tomorrow seems so far away’ and ‘Playing hideaway’, the latter being a full-blooded rock song with enough energy to power a small town. Equally powerful is a run through of that old classic ‘rock me baby’ complete with son Dillon on drums, and the power of the music brings audience and band together in a way that few artists can achieve.
Photo- Mick Schofield
Walter Trout has long been an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve and that is perhaps why his fan base felt his illness so keenly and greeted his return to action with such joy. An artist who has never been afraid to tell the truth, Walter’s experiences, as terrible as they were, have informed some of the greatest music of his career and to see him on stage, surrounded by his real family and by a band who are, in all but name, also his family, is simply joyous. I left the show (as did so many of the audience) feeling a simple optimism bought about purely by the energy with which Walter has embraced his new lease of life. I suspect that, for Walter, the best days still lie ahead as both he and his family embody a passion for music that is imparted to the audience throughout their live shows. I feel privileged to have been present for this wonderful performance and it confirmed my belief that Walter Trout remains one of the greatest blues guitarists alive today.
We’d like to gratefully acknowledge Mick Schofield who kindly shared these amazing shots of Walter Trout and band with us.
Walter Trout and Special Guests: The Trout Brothers Band Chester Live Rooms
July 22, 2016
You know, sometimes you go to a gig not expecting anything more than a good night out and come away with your perception of what ‘a good night out’ actually is. At Chester Live Rooms, as a part of his ongoing Battle Scars tour, Walter Trout and his band – along with his three sons, Jonathan, Dylan and Mike along with honorary Trout Brother, Adam – provided one of the most outstanding feasts of live music ever experienced.
The sold out audience was already hot and sweaty by the time The Trout Brothers Band took the stage, but once they started playing the temperature rose exponentially. READ MORE
Walter Trout - Blueslegende Klar For Paybak I Nord
Bluesrockeren Walter Trout sto opp fra sykeleiet og takker nordnorske fans, blant annet i Alta.
Blant sagnomsuste konsertopplevelser i byen, rangeres nok blueskvelden med Walter Trout på utestedet Kjellern høyt. I helga kommer han til Harstad og Tromsø, i stor takknemlighet etter at han såvidt unnslapp skjebnen. En livsnødvendig levertransplantasjon i fjor berget livet. Legene antok at han hadde maks tre dager igjen å leve da de omsider fikk tak i en matchende donor og fikk gjennomført operasjonen. Etter dette har fansen til Walter Trout selvfølgelig håpet på at han igjen skulle legge ut på turnéer i Europa og USA. Nå er han igang!
Gig review: WALTER TROUT/Simo – 02 Forum, London,21 November 2015
Perhaps only Walter Trout can transform the recollection of his own abject desperation and ill health into resonant blues-rock. Aside from completing his lengthy journey back to his rightful place in front of his adoring European fans – in this case London – he communicates his heartfelt songs through a mix of emotionally graphic lyrics, incendiary guitar playing and wry humour that thumbs its nose at his own darkest moments.
Where too many blues rockers fail to cross the significant divide between clubs and bigger venues, Trout has always had the ability to hold an audience. And tonight he rides rough shot over the sheer weight of expectation to strike a significant chord with everybody in the big crowd. READ MORE
Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by Mark Hughes
Walter Trout Triumphantly Returns To The Stage At London's Royal Albert Hall Following Recovery From A Successful Liver Transplant..
Review of AN EVENING FOR WALTER TROUT
AN EVENING FOR WALTER TROUT – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 4 May 2014
By Pete Feenstra at www.getreadytorock.me.uk
‘An Evening For Walter Trout’ was an unforgettable event with 60 musicians – including a posse of guitarists with borrowed amps – plus Walter Trout’s road and sound crew, all coming together to share their love for the blues-rock icon who is currently waiting for a liver transplant.
From the mid-day get in of the back line, to the final note at 10.55pm, this was never anything less than a shining example of genuine camaraderie, as egos were set aside and a ‘can do’ spirit prevailed.
The blues rock community turned out in force for Walter, with no less than 4 of his protégés – Ian Parker, Danny Bryant, Mitch Laddie and Laurence Jones – making sure his musical lineage is in good hands.
Photo by Mark Hughes (c) MHP
The pre-prep work and sound check was the key to the whole evening. The 9 piece Flamingo All Stars acted as the house band and they proved to be so well schooled and versatile that the whole evening ran smoothly without a hitch.
Roger Chapman arrived first, all smiles and full of anticipation, followed by Jon Trout, straight from the airport, still slightly worried as he’d missed a planned meeting with Danny Bryant, who had flown in from Germany.
Otis Grand trimmed his set to fit into the bill, before putting the excellent Flamingo band through their paces, including one double-time romp, while Bernie Marsden came closest to a full scale rehearsal. And after a near mid afternoon free for all, everything magically fell into place and the doors opened on time.
The Flamingo Club All Stars set an incredibly high standard for the evening with the Paul Butterfield favourite ‘Born In Chicago’. Led by John O’Leary on vocals and harp, and supported by Alan Glen on guitar, the band made the first of several poignant Walter Trout connections during the night – Trout’s favourite guitarist being the Butterfield ace player Mike Bloomfield.
White boy soul singer Paul Cox took over and tore into a stirring three song set, including his own bluesy ‘I Got The Proof’ and the crowd pleasing ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’.
Stephen Dale Petit was the epitome of cool as he brought feel and restraint to a ‘Have You Loved Got A Woman’, while Marcus Malone added soulful phrasing to his flamboyant presence with his self penned, stop-time shuffle ‘Slow Down’.
Ian Parker was the first of Walter’s protégés. Surprisingly he chose 3 covers including the harmony laden ‘Everyday I Have The Blues’ and a delicate version of ‘Little Wing’, full of intricate guitar work and real feel that gained him a huge response.
Protégé #2 Laurence Jones made the first of three appearances with a 4 song set that included the barn burning ‘Soul Swamp River’ and the guitar avalanche ‘Falling From The Sky’.
Mitch Laddie reminded us of Walter’s ability to write moving ballads, as he covered the guitar instrumental ‘Marie’s Mood’. The effervescent Andrew Elt joined him for some intense rocking on Walter’s ‘Mercy’, on which Elt’s incredible banshee wail was perfectly offset by Mitch’s searing solo.
Danny Bryant poignantly rounded off part one of the evening with John O’Leary on harp and Nick Newall on sax, on the deep blues ‘Days Like This’. His emotive vocal and a defining solo full of ringing notes and volume swells will surely make Walter smile.
Part two opened with a bang, as Del Bromham’s expanded 6 piece Stray featured the fiery harp player Stevie Smith and Cherry Lee Mewis, who brought a joy de vivre to the narrative driven ‘Ballad Of JD’ and the Trout style ‘Words’.
Bassist Glynn Evans moved from the drum riser to the front to join Bernie Marsden, who brought class and polish on three songs. The beautifully nuanced, meandering blues ‘A Place In My Heart’ was a highlight and featured Nick Newall on sax and Alan Glen on harp.
Each artist seemed to bring an extra layer to the cake, no more so than the blues catalyst himself Otis Grand. His instrumental ‘C Minor Blues’, a cutting edge boogie and the swinging ‘Bye Bye Blues’ with Marcus Malone on vocals was sublime, while Laurence joined Otis for a guitar wig out on Larry Williams’ ‘Slow Down’, as Marcus successfully exhorted the crowd to join in.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Family legend Roger Chapman went back to his blues roots for Sonny Boy’s ‘Help Me’ which is a traditional Walter Trout opener. He revelled on Jimmy Reed’s ‘Shame Shame Shame’ and growled out a mean ‘Got My Brand On You’, by which time he stomped the stage, waved his first at the balcony, and swore about the fact he had to relearn old blues lyrics, in a magical moment.
Jon Trout’s major gig debut proved to be an emotional moment, but with a helping hand from the house band and Andrew Elt, Walter’s son nailed the reason why we were all here with a slow blues ‘When My Dad Plays The blues’. Jon’s opening solo got deserved roar from the crowd, before a gloriously ragged ‘Going Down’ (a traditional Walter set closer), including a Pete Lamont trombone solo, saw upwards of 20 musicians on the stand.
It was left to Walter’s tour manager/vocalist Andrew Elt to send out a final heartfelt message to the man for who so much goodwill had been generated on a memorable night.
Gig review: WALTER TROUT – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 8 November 2013
Blues In Britain Review www.blueprint-blues.co.uk
Gig review: WALTER TROUT – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 8 November 2013
Walter Trout’s most durable qualities are his intense guitar playing and his ever ready sense of humour. Both were in evidence at a packed Shepherd’s Bush Empire as he overcame his daunting health problems in front of his biggest London crowd in years.
You can see why he’s been dubbed the ‘John Coltrane of the blues’, as he launched into a series of deep toned, fleet fingered solo’s and drum tight ensemble playing, in a show that will stay in the memory for years to come.
He might have cut a frail figure, but he transcended his situation with moments of exhilarating playing and spine tingling jamming. Typically he made light of his problems with several quips, the most telling of which was when he drew on the crowd for some ‘spiritual healing’, as they roared him on.
His band was versatile too, as evidenced by bass player Rick Knapp swapping to lead guitar and tour manger Andrew Elt taking over bass playing duties as Walter sat one out on harmonica. And even though he clearly wasn’t performing at the height of his powers – with not a bar chord in sight – his singing filled the Empire with a mix of deep emotion, real presence and heartfelt phrasing.
Walter made the best of his disciplined and self imposed regime, starting a song while perched on his flight case, before slipping centre stage on to a chair to pick out a flowing sequence of notes with undulating volume swells, on a glorious cover of Luther Allison’s ‘Bad Love’. Drummer Michael Leasure added the perfect tempo push to amplify the tension of the song, which brought Walter back to his feet to pull his axe closer to his body and wring every last possibility from an emotive tribute to his lost friend.
He got a great reception for that magical moment, but looked momentarily spent. But the man is a trooper and seemed reignited by the crowd, as he brought unbelievable poignancy to the line: ‘If pain was money, you know I’d be such a rich man’, from Allison’s ‘Pain In The Streets’. Sammy Avila added nuanced Hammond fills as Walter let his guitar do his talking for him.
‘Gone Too Long’ proved to be an imperious funky groove and allowed him to soar at his leisure and special guest Laurence Jones was joined by fellow guitarist Stephen Dale Petit for some fun on an improvised ‘Dust My Broom’.
And if his fellow band members’ instrument swapping was as much due to Walter’s need for a rest as to their sense of fun, the intensity levels never let up, with Rick Knapp demonstrating his own impressive guitar skills on his ‘Toys Are Us’ axe.
The set inexorably moved towards its climactic finish on the back of a jammed out instrumental version of ‘Serve’s Me Right To Suffer’ on which Walter and bass player Rick Knapp feverishly played double lines, Cream style, and drummer Michael Leasure added a mighty drum solo.
The band duly received a thunderous ovation leaving Walter to look up to the circle and defiantly shout out ‘I ain’t done yet’. On the evidence of this show he certainly isn’t.
Review by Pete Feenstra www.getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/posts/
Photos by Prakash Prak
The Sunshine Blues Festival Is A New Tradition
By Barry Kerzner Jan 27,2013
When Walter Trout came on, the crowd was primed and ready. They were like a bunch of kids gathered around the cookie jar, just waiting for mama to lift the lid. So, really, Trout didn’t have to work to win the crowd over: but he did, and that is what makes him so great. Not only did he work at it, he played hard and with soul, from way down deep inside. Trout played an incredible, blistering set with awesome technique and bluesy piercing tone. High points included “Our Brother’s Keeper,” “Catfish Blues,” and the impressive “I Saw Mama Cry.” READ MORE
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