The Music Farm
Robin Trower brought his guitar magic to the Music Farm last Tuesday night (Oct. 13) for nearly two hours of old-school blues-rock, to the obvious delight of the modest gathering of the older, mostly male (surprise, surprise) fans of the good old, amped-up pentatonic scale.
Trower and his band — singer Davey Pattison, bass Glenn Letsch, and drummer Pete Thompson — have been out on tour since this spring promoting the latest album from the British six string king, What Lies Beneath. At 64, Trower is still one clean, classy cat, and his longtime mates were well rehearsed … but if you know Trower, you know clean, classy, tight, and well rehearsed is automatic.
He played 16 songs from his over two dozen albums in his catalog, including “Time and Emotion” from the new one. But, of course, the older chestnuts, such as “Day of the Eagle,” “Bridge of Sighs,” and “Too Rolling Stoned” garnered the most fanfare. Even though he had a new rig (two Marshall 100-watt Vintage/Modern heads pushing two 4×10’s Cornell Cabinets), he sounded pretty much like he always did — with a huge, thick, Hendrix-esque “electric church” tone replete with lots of Band of Gypsies-era uni-vibe dying to feedback in the most beautifully grotesque way with the smallest amount of sustain.
Trower can burn with the best of them, but he’s always at his best when he’s hunkering down on a few choice notes. His vibrato and his phrasing and the way he bends notes were so soul permeating, it was nice to hear him take his time with it. He blended the burning stuff with the slow hand stuff. (One burn fan was adamant about him cooking only from the fretboard jockey stuff in the middle of “Bridge” much to Trower’s gentlemanly, but obvious chagrin).
He and the band brought their own sound guy, who had it dialed in very nicely. Somehow, whoever Trower has singing always sounds exactly the same as the original Paul Rogers-esque singer, James Dewar.
Ever the gracious (but taciturn) lad, Trower did an after-show meet-and-greet (sans handshakes, thanks to a nasty case of the flu last tour) from the passenger seat of his SUV. It’s interesting to see him up close; you think of him as a larger-than-life monster, but then you see him up close and you can’t help but wonder how all that colossal badassness comes from this shy, smiley, smallish, grandfatherly British chap.
These days, there isn’t a whole lot of room for the blistering rock guitar thing, but whenever Trower comes around, he always reminds us of what a beautiful thing it really is.