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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pat Travers band live at The Magic Bag, Ferndale (Detroit), Michigan. USA.
Friday 4th May, 2012

Pat Travers Band live at The Magic Bag, Detroit, MI
All Photo's by Alun Williams

Pat Travers is a Canadian guitarist who I first paid attention to back in 1979 with his single, ‘Boom, Boom, Out Go the Lights’ and yes, many older PT fans are probably thinking, what took you so long?!
Come on guys …, it was over thirty years ago, so give me some respect!
After hearing that track, I went right out and bought the associated live album, ‘Go For What You Know’ and have never looked back!

The man is a killer rocking blues player, who's released some truly great albums and he’s even had some of my favourite players, guest on some of the earlier albums, with both Thin Lizzy players Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham play on the man’s ‘Makin’ Magic’ and ‘Putting It Straight’ albums respectively and he’s put out around twenty studio albums since his self titled released in 1976.
Not too shabby, eh?

I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that I’ve seen the man play live four times prior to this gig, so not that often, but often enough to know that he’s good enough to go and catch live, again and again!

The Magic Bag may not be a huge venue, but it’s a great place for fans to see acts up close and personal and there was a very respectable crowd in the house tonight, not many empty seats and others were standing around the edges too.
My only beef with the place - Like so many smaller live venues - is that it has poor lighting, adequate I guess for the artist, but when there's no flash photography allowed, at all, then the outcome of most peoples pictures, is not great.

Pat's current band features Kirk McKim (Guitars), Rodney O’Quinn (Bass) and Sandy Gennaro on drums and all the players have been a part of PT’s live band for a while now and all certainly know their stuff!

Opening with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Susie’ from his ‘Makin’ Magic’ album, it got the evening off to a great start. Then it was the title track of his ‘Crash and Burn’ album, which was the first album I got to see him play live in support of back in 1980, at Hammersmith Odeon, London, but a track that at the time along with that album that certainly made his fans wonder what was going on.
He’d added keyboards to that one and even covered Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love!’
Scary and confusing at the time, from the man who clearly knew how to rock!

Anyway, Pat’s crowd tonight appreciated it and showed as much in their generous applause, especially since the band sounds tight!

Picking up the pace with ‘Heat In The Street’ and Sandy Gennaro plays up a storm, as much as the guitar players, good stuff!
Surprise inclusion for me tonight, although I’ve seen that he’s played it live before – Thanks to You Tube. – was Ram Jam’s ‘Black Betty.’ The crowd really got into the spirit of having some fun with this one and again, Mr. Gennaro was equal to anything flash Pat or Kirk pulled off! Nice one guys!

Pat then announces that he wants to play a couple of tracks off his latest album ‘Fidelis’ and for starters we get the excellent laid back ‘Josephine.’ It’s a really nice track and it comes across well tonight with the crowd.
Nice, if brief, harmony solo work between Pat and Kirk towards the end of the song.

Then the band get back into the rockin’ groove with the very catchy ‘Ask Me Baby’ which produces some very nice solo work from Kirk once more and then we get a mini drum solo from Sandy Gennaro. Just the right length, not too drawn out and this works well with the crowd.

‘I’ve Got News For You,’ from Pat’s first ‘Blues Tracks’ album is next and there’s some classy dual lead work here, which the crowd laps up.

Pat takes a moment or two to do a little tune up and then we get the moving ‘Stevie,’ which still gives me goose bumps today.
It’s just a class track, it really is. Some excellent harmony guitar work here, love it!

A little solo spot for Kirk to do his best Neal Schon like impression … Seriously, Kirk is a guitar player alongside Pat who deserves to be checked out. The sound from both Pat and Kirk using PRS guitars is seriously slick!
Pat comes back out and starts messing around with some slide guitar work that then leads into Jimi Hendrix ‘Red House.’

Then the band gives us their rendition of Robert Johnson’s ‘If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day,’ and that concludes the real deep blue’s performances for the evening and then it’s back to the rockin’!

Oh yeah and you know it’s getting close to the end as Pat rips into ‘Snortin’ Whiskey’ and the crowd are on their feet and the mood remains, with ‘Boom, Boom (Out Go The Lights)’ to close the main set.

It was tough for a moment to think, what had we missed that they would play as an encore and then it was clear as day. No Pat Travers show would be complete without the man playing ‘Statesboro’ Blues!’
It wrapped the night up perfectly!

Sure there were other songs I would’ve loved to have heard, but that’s always the case with any live show, but I for one was very happy to have witnessed tonight’s performance, as clearly were the rest of the audience, many who stuck around at the end inside to meet and chat with Pat and the band.

It’s still a great show from the Pat Travers Band, if he comes to your town, you must check it out, to use the words that introduced his classic live album, ‘Go For What You Know,’ he’ll ‘kick your ass!’

Rating: 5 out of 5

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