Walter Trout Tribute Show – Shepherds Bush Empire – 04/05/2014

Promoter Pete Feenstra has always had a good relationship with in-the-wars Trout, promoting him when Walter was little known and having faith he’d become a popular performer ; Trout would play PF shows even as his star ascended and he probably needn’t. In our part of the music scene, these things can happen.
Trout has a huge following and when it was announced that a special London show would happen as part of raising funds for Walter’s medical treatment and pending transplant, your scribe was a happily paying punter in support of the show and cause. Feenstra was twelve hours at the helm this afternoon and evening and was rewarded with minimal prima donna behaviour from the assembled artists and a superb reaction to the parade of talents – all witnessed by the singer son of the afflicted Trout.
Many younger artists have been helped and encouraged by Walter, notably Danny Bryant and it’s Danny who has been asked to front the WT band tour in the US this year, to keep his guys working and the name in lights. An honour, but a merited one.
Running into harp ace JohnO’Leary before the show, it seemed that all were excited about the event, John’s partner in crime in the Flamingo AllStars is Alan Glen and his guitar and harp featured prominently in the performance. As house band, the FAS crew did a fine job and kept things on the move, all credit to them.
Paul Cox delivered ‘Proof’ and ‘Some Kinda Wonderful’ with Glen on his red Gibson ; Stephen Dale Pettit cruised through Freddie King’s ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ with a snappy relish. Marcus Malone from Detroit complete with hat did ‘Slow Down’ and made an impression.
Ian Parker was in electric mode and delivered a BB King tune and Hendrix’ ‘Little Wing’ before parting with ‘All Along The Watchtower’ bowling the audience over ; Laurence Jones showed exactly why there’s a buzz about him, playing with his own muso’s and hitting his tobacco Strat in all the right places, a very powerful and joyous spot. ‘Temptation’ which features Trout on the latest Jones album sounded fresh and sparky.
Mitch Laddie has his own style and played a beautifully melodic instrumental on a cream Strat ; joined then by Andrew for –I think – ‘Fire On The Mountain’, again a great performance. Danny Bryant got a great sound from his dark blue custom guitar and played a slow number that he had recorded with Trout some years ago.
Variety came with Del Bromham’s spirited country-rock set, Stevie Smith providing storming harp and a female vocalist bringing some glamour to the proceedings.
All this was enlivened by Feenstra scooting on and off the stage to do the intro’s and anouncements. – he has since told me this show was one of his proudest moments.
A jovial Bernie Marsden took to the stage and with Glen on harp had his Les Paul singing through a version of ‘Sittin’ On Top The World’, A gorgeous tone and understated picking brought class to the show in spades. ‘A Place In My Heart’ was a moody minor key blues, great quality vocal and a lovely middle eight, then King Albert’s ‘Born Under Bad Sign’ done the Marsden way, sublime stuff…

At this point I had to head off to play a show, so over to Our Clive for the rest…

Pete Sargeant

++++++Clive R will give you the rest of this review – Pete S