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Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 22, 2017    
 
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Alex Skolnick Trio - Talking Heads, Southampton (UK) - 01 March 2017

It was a pretty grim Wednesday night when I fetched up at the Talking Heads for the first night of the Alex Skolnick Trio tour. The main event room was deserted which didn't bode well, until Mark Tutton (venue manager extraordinaire) told me that the double bass had been damaged on the flight and they were madly trying to fix it so everyone else had retired to the bar next door. As there had not been many tickets sold in advance, the room had been set out café style with little tables complete with floating candle lights. It's about as far away from a Testament gig as you can get but set the mood nicely for the evening.

A little later than advertised, the band appeared on stage with profuse apologies, they looked a little tired as they had come straight from the airport, I felt slightly embarrassed that they had made such a huge effort for an audience of around twenty people. Judging by the preponderance of black clothing, it was safe to assume that most of the twenty were here because of the Testament connection. However, they all settled in to the Jazz club vibe and didn't seem surprised by originals such as 'Veritas'. The set was a mixture of "smooth" Jazz, wandering occasionally into the Salsa-like beats of Gypsy Jazz with songs such as 'Django Tango'. Skolnick is renowned as one of the fastest players in the world and that ability allows him to be a convincing Jazz guitarist, he was supported by Matt Zeborski on drums and Nathan Peck on bass both of whom are accomplished musicians.

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The songs that the audience seemed to enjoy the most though are the Jazzed-up Rock covers, 'Detroit Rock City' felt like the band had said "which is the most unlikely song we could cover in a Jazz style", but it worked surprisingly well. Scorpions always write a good song and 'Still Loving You' was a perfect fit in the set. The song that brought the house down as it were was a very long version of Aerosmiths's 'Dream On' which allowed for a great deal of improvisation and soloing.

Regretfully, throughout the gig, I couldn't shake the concern that one of the most famous Heavy Metal guitarists in the world was playing eight feet away from me, to twenty people. Still, for the few of us who were there, it was worth the effort that we made.

Helen Bradley Owers


Alex Skolnick Trio Live

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