JB by Christie Goodwin

(Photo by Christie Goodwin)

 

The Greenwich Maritime site is not only one of the many beautiful landmarks of London,  United Kingdom but also the perfect location for a music festival, right on the edge of the river Thames, hosting tonight an evening of true blues/rock aristocracy.

Even for Joe Bonamassa, Guitarist Extraordinaire and main event of a night of blues/rock that promises to be truly spectacular, it must be feeling really special to play in such a wonderful place. The feeling that this will be a special concert tonight in London is also due to the heavy presence of cameras all around the venue, hinting that there might be a possible DVD to be released in the future for tonight's performance. In the V.I.P. area, at the venue, many famous faces can be spotted, most of them very familiar to Bluebird Reviews. From Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson to the cream of the nouvelle vague of British blues/rock, like Ben Poole, Laurence Jones and Aaron Keylock amongst others.

After an incredible opening set of tonight's support artist Joanne Shaw Taylor, whose talent keeps growing and growing each passing year, both as a guitarist and as a singer, at 8.30pm sharp the prodigious guitarist from Utica, NY comes on stage, immaculately dressed as always, with his band.

Bonamassa is currently bringing to the UK masses his latest project, a Tour which is an homage to the 70's British blues/rock regalia, by playing tunes from music giants that have been instrumental in his own musical growth, like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

Bonamassa Greenwich

(Photo by Bluebird Reviews)

The show is, musically speaking, impeccably designed. Bonamassa carefully selects tracks from his most favourite albums of the era, like Jeff Beck's Beck-Ola (Rice Pudding, Spanish Boots) or Eric Clapton's 461 Ocean Boulevard (Motherless Children, Mainline Florida) to be performed and he does so as masterfully as all those artists would have possibly wished for.

Despite surprisely being, at times, vocally lacklustre in tonight's performance, Bonamassa is slick and pitch-perfect on guitar as always. Supported on stage by a very highly skilled band, in which particularly Anton Fig on drums and 2015's Inductees Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame keyboard player Reese Wynans talent shine through the entire show, Bonamassa offers a superb delivery of Cream's SWLABR, from that monumental album that is Disraeli Gears followed by an incredible and very intense Zeppelinian medley of Tea For One and I Can't Quit You Baby.

The encore of Sloe Gin, one of Bonamassa's biggest hits, is the only exception to the theme of a perfectly calibrated show. In this beautiful and fresh English summer night, Joe Bonamassa successfully demonstrated once again why he is one of the most venerated guitarists and performers worldwide. A very solid performance, perhaps not at the same level of the famous Royal Albert Hall in 2009 or, more recently, at The Hammersmith Apollo for The Tour De Force but still a true statement of class and brilliancy from one of the most talented guitarists of this generation. 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato  

Jj Grey Mofro by John Bull

(Photo by John Bull)

 

There is always something mystical and spiritual about performing in such a beautiful venue as The Union Chapel in the English capital.

Even for a consummate performer like JJ Grey, to enter this spectacular church, which is occasionally converted into a music venue, must have felt really special. On a beautiful starry evening like today, to be here at this venue and to see a powerful and poignant show played by JJ Grey & Mofro makes the right combo for any music lover.

The Music Maverick from Florida enters the stage in an elegant suit and as always, JJ Grey and his Boys take the house down with their powerful, passionate mix of R&B and Soul. The shorter setlist chosen by the American artist for tonight's performance offers many pleasant surprises.

JJ Grey cleverly picks and chooses tonight's setlist from his whole discography and that decision reveals to be a winning one. There are some true gems from an underrated album from JJ Grey's discography like Lochloosa, which are a true joy to listen to live. Tonight's opener How Junior Got His Head Put Out, Six Ways From Sunday and the album title-track Lochloosa are delivered by the Florida's singer/songwriter in such a powerful way and they sound as fresh as they were written yesterday.

setlist JJ Grey

 

The atmosphere at The Union Chapel must have packed a punch into JJ Grey's heart tonight. He repeatedly refers to The Union Chapel as "One of the most special venues I have ever played in" and when it comes to the moment to perform Brave Lil' Fighter ("a song about someone that went through many unfortunate circumstances in life"), the intensity of the song catches the American Artist by surprise and he steps briefly away from the microphone during the bridge of the tune, like he was feeling that song on his own skin.

The Mofro are in terrific form tonight as well and it's a must to mention the stellar performance especially of the Horn Section of the band. JJ Grey's ability to lift up the audience in moments of the show like Orange Blossom or Country Ghetto, craftly balancing with beautiful ballads like Every Minute or Light A Candle is second to none.

Due to local rules and restrictions, all artists performing at The Chapel have to finish at a certain time and it is a real shame because JJ Grey & The Mofro and the crowd would go gladly on for an hour still and even more.

Ol' Glory is the encore that bring the whole crowd to their feet, dancing the night away through the infectious sound of a fantastic band and a tremendous powerhouse singer.

JJ Grey & The Mofro delivered one of their most intense, soulful and splendid musical sermons of their career. No better places than The Union Chapel to do so.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

annavonhausswolff

 

I have been waiting to see Anna Von Hausswolff live for a very long time. Her new album, the recently released The Miraculous, has been on constant airplay on Bluebird Reviews' hi-fi in recent times.

The Oslo club in Hackney, London, is not just a superb eatery place but also an excellent, intimate music venue and the perfect environment for tonight's show by Anna Von Hausswolff and her superb avant-garde music style.

When the Swedish young prodigy arrives on stage, it is very clear from the first note that this will be a very special night of music to remember. Von Hausswolff's band is made by two guitarists, a drummer and a keyboardist and she carefully places them around her on stage, almost to create the perfect quadriphonic sound frame.

Von Hausswolff is currently touring Europe to promote her new album and, By Jove, how well she does so! If anyone might have been mesmerised by the exceptional quality of her voice and the infinite talent as multi-instrumentalist on record, Von Hausswolff goes two notches further when she plays live, tonight.

Her voice dazzles throughout the show in various forms. From the low, almost baritonal style she uses on The Hope Only Of Empty Men to the dissonant singing mode used in Pomperipossa, resembling the sound of a mermaid, singing her pain from the deepest abysses in the sea. Von Hausswolff gives so much intensity to this live performance like very few artists I have seen for a very long time. She means every note and every word and she never gives for grant that audiences may understand or appreciate the personal music journey this extraordinary artist has embarked.

So much so that, when she receives the first of many triumphant roars from the crowd on the track called Discovery, Von Hausswolff is pleasantly taken by surprise by the crowd's reaction. All she manages to say is, in her own sweet and shy way, "This is unbelievable, you are fu***ng amazing!".

The Swedish artist creates, through her music, unique sonic carpets, able to transport the crowd in different times and spaces. What is really stunning, it is that the audience remains silent throughout each of the songs, to allow and appreciate even more Von Hausswolff's magnitude of music expression.

The finale is thunderous and incredibly emotive. Come Wander With Me/Deliverance is a 10-minute plus suite that goes through an irresistible crescendo, allowing Von Hausswolff and her band to write in a very special way and in cubical letters the words "The End" to an incredible show. The crowd wants some more and Von Hausswolff, gracefully, returns on stage to play, as encore, Mountain Crave, from her previous album Ceremony. Von Hausswolff thanks sweetly the audience by saying "I feel exhausted but you were so unbelievable to me, thank you so much!".

She may be seen, sometimes, by the media, like an unreachable, talented, beautiful star coming from a different music universe. Anna Von Hausswolff has clearly stated tonight, through this show, that she belongs to music royalty.

The sky of London, tonight, after the Swedish Star passage, for one night only, seems a bit more shinier. Thanks to Anna Von Hausswolff.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

Big Boy Bloater

 

There are two very good reasons why it's always worth to go to a Big Boy Bloater and The Limit's gig. The first is the contagious good feeling this band is able to express through his music and the band leader's happy, spirited eyes. The second is to get the chance to listen live to the tracks of a great album like Luxury Hobo, the new record of this formidable band.

The historic 100 Club is packed with many BBB fans coming from all different part of the country, from the North of England to even Wales. Big Boy Bloater & The Limits feel immediately that there are special vibes in the house tonight and don't lose a second in launching the positive energy that comes from their talent as musicians and BBB's robust, powerful and graspy voice into tonight's show. The openers I Love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends) and Robot Girlfriend take the crowd already in a dancing mood and lead the fans to believe that this will be a very special night of music.

Big Boy Bloater & The Limits are a perfect sounding music machine. Many have got the tendency to forget that the Big Boy Bloater, together with being an extraordinary singer, is also an excellent guitarist and he blends perfectly the many sides of his talent in the tracks Devil's Tail and All Things Considered.

The Limits are in great form tonight too. Dan Edwards on keys, Matt Cowley on drums and Steven Oates on bass provide power, fabulous musical improvisation and a solid backbone to their band leader throughout the whole show (Dan Edwards gets even an impromptu, collective Happy Birthday wish from the whole crowd).

Once most of the songs of the new album Luxury Hobo have been performed and highly appreciated by the enthusiastic crowd at the venue tonight, Big Boy Bloater revisits part of his back catalogue, reaching the climax of the show by performing classics of his extensive repertoire such as Rocket Surgery, Sweet & Brown and Big Fat Trap.

The irresistible combo of R&B, alternative rock and soul is something that Big Boy Bloater & The Limits know very well how to put together and tonight is no exception. They feel the crowd is hot enough by now and launch themselves in a pyrotechnic, fast tempo finale with Not Cool Man, the closing track of their new studio album.

After 90 minutes of musical entertainment at its finest, the fans desperately want an encore. A big cheer from the crowd welcomes back the band on stage, where a highly energetic version of Devils & Not Angels closes a wonderful night of music.

Tonight's concert proved that the secret of this band stands not just into their incredible artistry as musicians but also into the fact they are able to speak to different age ranges through their eclectic music offer. Big Boy Bloater & The Limits came and conquered London for one night only and they certainly did it in style.

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

  

waltertrout 

(Photo courtesy by Richard Boyles)

 

The United Kingdom is one of the many places in the world where the arrival in any town of the country of Walter Trout and his Band always feels like the arrival of a Blues Shaman and his tribe.

Many things have been said about Trout and his miraculous return on stage, following the liver transplant that saved Trout's life. Throughout his absence from the music scene, people has never stopped loving the American Guitarist and supported him when it really mattered. Through this Tour, supporting his new album Battle Scars, Trout is playing with his heart and soul even more than the normal, because deep inside he feels that he owes part of his personal and artistic re-birth to his fans.

Frome in UK is the last night of the UK Tour and tonight, once again, a packed house is in anxious wait of one of their most favourite Blues Heroes. His arrival on stage, at 21.25 is welcomed with a gigantic roar from the crowd, with a good 3-minutes standing ovation, even before Trout touches his guitar.

Trout and his boys look in phenomenal shape and sound even better. The openers Help Me and I'm Back are powerful and thundering and Trout's attack on the vocals of I'm Back leaves no doubts about the fact that he is REALLY back. The Huntingdon Beach-based artist waste no time in touching the blues chords of his fans' souls, by executing an excellent version of Say Goodbye To The Blues from one of his best record ever, in my personal opinion, the 1990's Prisoner Of A Dream album.

The show runs fluidly as a steam train on full throttle. When Trout starts playing the tracks from his new album, he jokingly describes the moment as "the depressive part of the show". The songs, all related to the time Trout was in hospital, desperately waiting for a liver donor and hanging on to life by the skin of his teeth, may exude darkness through the lyrics but not certainly through their sound. Omaha and I'm Almost Gone have got a robust, solid rock tempo, but it's on My Ship Came In that Trout and his band offer one of the most intense moments of the evening. It's Trout vintage through and through, with a fantastic guitar solo that throws chills down the spine of the fans.

Trout's Band, once again, proves they are one of the finest music machine around and by Trout's own admission "it feels like we are playing like kids again". Sammy Avila often duets beautifully with his unique, dissonant style on keys with Trout's guitar, especially on the above mentioned My Ship Came In. Michael Leisure on drums is precise and powerful, Johnny Griparic on bass is solid and consistant. They are certainly the ideal band for any bluesmen in the world.

It's great to see as well that Walter Trout's legacy, when it comes to playing guitar and singing, will be around for a very long time through his sons. Jon, Walter's oldest, has been following his father on this tour and appears as Special Guest on a couple of tunes tonight with stunning results. Trout even decides to play, for the very first time, a song from the new album very close to his heart, called Please Take Me Home. The song is about Trout feeling his life running away from him, imploring his wife Marie to take him back home, while Marie surrounds him in her arms, giving him comfort and strength. A very deep, emotional moment of the show.

Trout leaves the fireworks for the very end, by playing what he calls his "one hit wonder, the only time I was in the charts, back in 1991 with Madonna and some others". The Love That We Once Knew indeed projected, at the time, the american artist right to the top of the charts worldwide and tonight's performance of this rock ballad is tender and strong at the same time.

Freddie King's classic I'm Goin' Down lifts up the whole venue and I cannot think of a better way to close a show. The Walter Trout Band is gunblazing the crowd through their rip-roaring rendition of this tune and even the Special Guests, including Stephen Dale Petit (which opened the show as Support Act) plus their Tour Manager and Rock Partner In Crime every time they are touring the UK, Andrew Elt, join on stage. Eight minutes of pure, raw, energetic blues-rock, with Trout's guitar fending the night with his fabulous solos whilst each musician on stage (including an outstanding high-pitched-Zeppelinesque one from Elt) sings the chorus.

When I met Trout, back in June 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, I saw an artist that was timorous about his future. Tonight, I have seen an artist flying again and this time, higher than the sky. Once again, welcome back, Walter Trout 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

Battle Scars is out now and available via Provogue/Mascot Label Group

The Walter Trout Band is currently on Tour, you will find all the upcoming events by following this Link

Northampton, Mass:

Joe Louis Walker beckoned music fans of all ages to the Iron Horse Music Hall twice this year. How lucky we are for such  fortune! His award winning blues talent attracts people from all over the globe through word of mouth and legend.  The New York blues man and recording artist has played with Jimi Hendrix, BB King, and recorded with countless A list artists. At the Iron Horse, brought blues, soul, funk, and old school gospel, to the full house. When Joe Louis Walker enters a venue, it's immediately - his house. 

The last time he was in town, we got snowed out driving to the venue, but Walker's show went on. It was heartbreaking to have missed him! Later in the year, Gio Pilato wrote up his new Mascot Label record, "Everybody Wants A Piece"   with rave reviews. We were determined not to miss him this time around. 

Joe Louis Walker is from Poughkeepsie. Ironically, my friends tonight, were also from Poughkeepsie. They were so enthralled by his prior performance at The Falcon in Marlborough, NY, that they drove three hours to see him again in Northampton, MA. 

joesatriani (Photo by Martin Thomas)

 

For his own admission, "There is no better place than London to end an European Tour". The UK capital is in for a real treat tonight, with Joe Satriani arriving to town touring his new album, Shockwave Supernova.

Sparkles of great fireworks coming are set alight by an old friend of Bluebird Reviews, the fabulous Dan Patlansky. The South African guitar Virtuoso has been the Support Act for Satriani's last 25 dates of this European Tour and it is virtually impossible to find anybody better than Patlansky nowadays, in the music business, to open a night of rock of such great magnitude.

Patlansky's 3-pieces band offers a very solid 40 minutes set, in which he cannot express enough his gratitude and appreciation to his English fans for supporting his music and to Satriani, for allowing him to be on this Tour. There is the opportunity tonight to hear two brand new songs, Run and Stop The Messing, both included in Patlansky's forthcoming album, expected in 2016. Run, in particular, shows early signs of another potential mega-hit coming for the talented South African guitarist, given the crowd's strong response.

Dan Patlansky Apollo (Photo by Charlotte Wellings)

At 8.30pm sharp, lights go down and the thunderous guitar of Satriani attacks the show with the killer tempo of Shockwave Supernova, the title track of the guitar Maestro's new album. Satriani looks in great shape and unleash his phenomenal artistry and ability throughout the two-hour plus show. The stage offers, in true Satriani's style, some great light effects and a beautiful montage of background images to accompain each tune, just to add some extra spice to this formidable night of music.

Often wrongly depicted as self-indulgent, many people tent to forget that, to maintain high standard of music, in a purely instrumental show like this, it requests an incredible amount of versatility and skills. But that is what separate a genius like Satriani from music Average Joes. The American artist showcases his deep musical understanding by incorporating, in his highly fuelled rock tunes, elements of funk and fusion, to make this incredible live set even more palatable. Every note coming from each tune of the Guitar Maestro's many guitars manages successfully to tell a story, without the need of having a singer on stage.

Crystal Planet is powerful, boombastic and armed of an irresistible guitar riff. Butterfly And Zebra is tender and soulful, with its melody encapsulating perfectly the tale Satriani wanted to tell through his guitar. Crazy Joey is, perhaps, one of the most intense track of the new album and of tonight's show. Satriani reveals it all about himself, in this 5-minutes long, magic tune; there is creativity, fun, skills and playfulness. A touch of genius.

Satriani's band plays also a great role in tonight's show. The class and versatility of Mike Keneally on guitar and keys, the sharp, powerful bass of Bryan Beller and the imperial tempo that Marco Minnemann on drums dictates on each tune, make this band a true rock music machine like very few around.

The fans tonight at The Apollo are in total music Nirvana and, in a tremendous crescendo of music tempo, old and new gems of Satriani's repertoire like Luminous Flesh Giants and Goodbye Supernova, join forces in leading superbly the crowd to the end of a fabulous show.

Satriani and his band look visibly happy about tonight's performance and decide to pull off the most precious ace off their sleeves on their Encore, by executing an incredible version of Surfing With The Alien, which gets the biggest cheer of the night at The Apollo.

There are no many Music Raconteurs around the globe able to deliver the fire and the flare that Satriani's guitar does. A Music Meteorite landed in London tonight, a Music Surfing Alien emerged from it and brought a magnificent night of rock that the Londoners wil remember for a very long time. 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

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