Fireworks

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Pat Travers - The Cluny, Newcastle (UK) - 7th October 2013

While many of his peers seem content to plough across the nostalgia circuit rehashing the old hits without the merest hint of new material, Canadian guitarist Pat Travers has been prolific with a string of new albums keeping his catalogue growing by the year. With his recent excellent 'Can Do' following hot on the heels of 'Blues On Fire', an intriguing reworking of old 1920s Blues standards released the previous year, Travers is far from finished.

His latest run of shows in the UK is arguably his biggest tour on these shores in some time with Travers criss-crossing the country bringing his feisty fretwork to some unusual places off the beaten Rock 'n' Roll map. Indeed following this show Travers was headed for the tiny rural village of Reeth which is literally in the middle of nowhere but after last year's storming show there it's indelibly marked on Travers' route planner from now on.

For an hour and a half Travers delivered a well-balanced set highlighting the range of his material from right across his career. 'Rock And Roll Suzie' and the AC/DC thunder of 'Heat In The Street' set the momentum for the show while the pulsating 'Crash And Burn' pulled back the reins with its ever so cool swagger. New material 'Can Do' and the ballad 'Diamond Girl' showed that Travers still has the ability to pen a decent tune that can sit comfortably alongside his more well-known material.

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Travers is a versatile musician with 'Can Do' seeing a return to his classic Hard Rock sound that built him such a following in the 70s yet his ability to switch effortlessly to the Blues shows a talent possessed by few. His Blues credentials were well and truly nailed to the mast on the smouldering Ray Charles cover 'I Got News For You', the boogie romp of 'Statesboro Blues' and the downright dirty slide guitar sleaze of 'Red House'. The classic ballad 'Stevie' was a genuine highlight of the show, particularly the wonderful harmonising between Travers and his fellow guitarist Kirk McKim and more than made up for the slight stutter during 'Black Betty'. His signature tune 'Snortin' Whiskey' is quite possibly one of the greatest guitar riffs EVER and simply roared out the amps before the crowd joined the throng for 'Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)'. Closing the show with a stonkingly Funky 'Getting Betta' and the grimy sound of 'Black Dog Blues' a shirtless and sweat drenched Travers was left beaming in delight.

Pat Travers is a rare talent and his passion and love for his craft shines through. While seeing his show up-close and personal in a sweaty club is what Rock 'n' Roll is all about, it is one of life's mysteries as to why such a master craftsman is not gracing far bigger stages.

Mick Burgess

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