Walter Trout Power Trio at the Boom Boom Club, Sutton, Surrey (Greater London) 26/3/07
The interview with Walter was a spontaneous happening at the end of the show by the merchandise desk. Walter has been meeting fans and together with my video man Prakash we took the opportunity to ask Walter to sum up his first ever Power Trio tour. The interview was a light hearted affair, perhaps the best way to approach it after 12 days of intense touring and jamming the blues.
here’s a clip from the show : http://www.youtube.com/v/3iC05R6OW48
The background to this short UK tour was that in the summer of 2006 Ruf recording artists Walter Trout & the Radicals played a major London show as part of a month long UK tour in support of their Billboard chart album “Full Circle”. Moments before taking the stage, the Hammond and keyboards failed, and the band had to improvise the whole evening as a trio. Given the fact Walter Trout never uses a set list, it wasn’t a problem, but nonetheless, a significant part of the set was to have included highlights from the “Full Circle” album., In the event, Walter scrapped everything and jammed the whole evening as a Power Trio. And such was the excitement and sheer frisson of that spontaneous occasion that Walter decided to undertake a brief European tour in trio format, without any advertising and PR.
Incredibly the Boom Boom Club date which came at the end of 12 UK dates on a Monday night, sold out in advance and Walter and his band rolled back the years and went back to their blues roots with a down to the wire show full of bass and guitar interplay, passionate vocals and lots of memorable moments.
And with a solo career spanning some 15 albums and with over 14 years working as guitarist with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker, plus a workload of over 200 shows a year, clearly Walter had much to choose from. It still came as something as a surprise then when after a sonorous languid laid back blues on which he delivered some sumptuous big toned guitar lines, he launched straight into a manic “Give Me Back My Wig”, Hound Dog Taylor style. The crowd roared the band on, and with plenty of room to jam Walter’s solo’s soared inspirationally as bass man Rick Knapp, manfully underpinned the guitar with some beautiful bass runs. At times the subtle musical textures and band interplay so intuitive that the Hammond was only occasionally missed.
But even in Trio format, it is still apparent that is Walter’s song writing sensibilities mark him out as special. The autobiographical “Leave This Town” for example and the heartfelt blues of “Finally Gotten Over You” are plaintive outings embellishes with lashing of guitar, while the hard edged pounding riffs of “Junkyard In Your Eyes” musically punctuate the story of a friend’s heroin addiction.
But this was a night of much fun and great music, and plenty of low down blues and drummer Joey Pafumi climaxed an inspirational version of Muddy waters “Catfish Blues” with a drum solo that combined breath taking technique with humour.
One three song encore later, and the band was out in the crowd, and our interview took place. If Cream at their peak were ever as good as this, then I must have missed something really special.
Pete Feenstra www.feenstra.co.uk