I’ve been to many gigs where the support bands feel like they’ve been tagged on as an afterthought. Sometimes they are a complete musical mismatch , sometimes an unknown that slips back into obscurity, and sometimes they seem to get a raw deal from a sound man who has no interest in making them sound good.
Whoever it is that chooses Robin’s special guests however seems to have a great eye for spotting upcoming talent. The last time I saw Mr Trower he had the phenomenal Joanne Shaw Taylor on the bill (read review here). This time around we have Scotland’s own Stevie Nimmo who’s new album Sky Won’t Fall has become one of my favourite blues albums of the year (read review here). Unfortunately fate has been against me the last few times I’ve tried to catch Stevie live so I’m looking forward to seeing him tonight.
After joking with the crowd that the first song was going to be “Ruby Ruby”, the Kaiser Chiefs are playing in the same venue tonight but in a different hall, the Stevie Nimmo Trio launch into “Roll the Dice Again” from his new album. It’s good to see so many people have come out to watch Stevie and the hall is pretty much full when the band, with hardly a pause, go straight into “Still Hungry”. It’s great to finally hear these songs in a live setting and during the solos Stevie really rings the notes out of his surf green/light blue (difficult to tell under the stage lights) Fender Strat and, with eyes closed, he pours so much emotion into his lead playing. I was surprised to see his guitar lead attached to a tiny Orange amp. It could have been an Orange Micro Terror 20w or an Orange Dual Terror 30w I’m not sure as I only had a brief glimpse of it. Whatever it was it sounded awesome and delivered a huge sound that belied its size. In fact the sound in the venue is crystal clear for both bands tonight so compliments to the sound man. The band draw heavily from the new album this evening which is understandable but all the songs go down equally well with the audience. The 30 minute set, finishing with cheers and applause from the crowd, feels too short and I would have loved to have heard more but I’m just happy I finally got to see him live. It was good to see that Stevie hung around after the gig talking to fans, signing cd’s etc… Great stuff and looking forward to seeing him again.
A short intro tape, and Mr Trower and his band take to the stage to huge cheers. Robin straps on a white Fender Strat, smiles at the audience, and we’re straight into classic song territory with “Too Rolling Stoned”. His guitar sound has an instantly recognisable and unique quality that just sounds incredible this evening. Quite different from Mr Nimmo’s stripped back approach I count three heavy duty Marshall amps behind him. Robin’s facial contortions during his solos show just how much feeling he’s squeezing out of every note. During Stevie Nimmo’s set Stevie complimented Robin and said there was so much he could learn from him. He really is a master of his instrument and you find yourself getting sucked in during his lengthy instrumental sections. As expected we have a mix of old and new tracks tonight. Songs from the new album such as the title track “Where are you going to” fit seamlessly alongside the classics such as “Daydream” and “Bridge Of Sighs”. The highlight for me though is an amazing rendition of one of my favourite Trower songs “Day of the Eagle”. Christopher Taggart (drums) and Richard Watts (bass, vocals) are introduced by Robin between songs. The main focus, as I said in my review last year, is always going to be Robin himself but these guys are tight and do a great job. When the band finishes their encore I wait for them to come back on for another one but unfortunately it’s not to be. Incredible performance from Robin as always and I find myself hoping to see him again soon.
It’s been a great evening and if you can catch these guys on tour then do so. If you like blues and rock then there’s no reason not to come along and see this show. Superb sets from both bands.
Upcoming dates from this tour:
- Friday 14 October – FROME, Cheese & Grain
- Saturday 15 October – LEAMINGTON SPA, Assembly
- Sunday 16 October – EXETER, Phoenix
- Tuesday 18 October – LONDON, Islington Assembly
- Wednesday 19 October – BRIGHTON, Concorde 2
Header image by Rob Blackham