Review: Keith St John – Bannermans, Edinburgh

Following on from the successful 2019 acoustic shows with co-founder Doug Aldrich, Burning Rain vocalist Keith St John (with guitarist Jack Frost also along for the ride) is back in the UK for a run of 8 shows in 9 days dubbed as the ‘Rain Is Burning’ acoustic duo tour. One of the most prolific vocalists on the American rock scene – Montrose, Lynch Mob, LA Guns, Quiet Riot, Kingdom Come, and the Las Vegas hit show Raiding the Rock Vault – Keith St John has many arrows in his quiver and although the title of the tour lends itself to the much-respected on-off Burning Rain project, multiple stops are made to the many outfits that St John has lent his considerable voice to.

Opening nights usually bring some hiccups that get ironed out over the course of the tour, and if anything, issues on the night usually prove that the performers are actually performing and not relying on “assistance” from backing tapes. The charm of opening night in Edinburgh is that it’s obvious that both St John and Jack Frost (Coolest. Name. Ever.) are flying without a safety net, and having a total blast doing so, and as Jack mentions during the set – this is as raw and stripped back as it gets. After the opening number – a spirited rendition of the Montrose classic ‘Rock The Nation’ – Jack mentions how intricate it is to transfer Ronnie Montrose’s guitar parts into an acoustic style, and on numerous occasions throughout the set, both Jack and Keith spend time paying tribute to the much-missed (and totally underrated) guitarist who Keith spent some considerable time with. The pair wouldn’t have gotten away with not playing ‘Rock Candy’, and after a slight discussion about guitar parts, Keith rises from his barstool to launch the iconic intro to a genuine piece of American history.

With both performers wielding acoustic guitars, Jack handling lead – and Keith on rhythm duties, a lot of patterns and parts are figured out there and then, and as touched on earlier, there is something admirable about this approach. It is the first time that the pair have really played together after meeting at the annual NAMM trade show and bonded over a mutual appreciation of Ronnie Montrose, and it’s hard not to be swept up in the joy on display from them both. Jack is a revelation on the guitar and replicates with ease the guitar parts from some of the biggest names in rock – including a gorgeous version of Zeppelin’s ‘Good Times Bad Times’ – and is the perfect sidekick for Keith’s evening of storytelling (not often will you find Yngwie Malmsteen, Kingdom Come leader Lenny Wolf, and Hitler all mentioned in the same story – but you get the gist). On the subject of the controversial Kingdom Come, Keith totally nails the KC mega-hit ‘Get It On’. Often reminiscent of David Coverdale during the bluesier period of Whitesnake, this is where the likable musician thrives, so naturally a cover of ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ is peeled off with ease, as are stripped-back versions of Burning Rain moments such as ‘My Lust Your Fate’, ‘Shelter’, and ‘Face The Music’.

There is great chemistry between these two, find out for yourself on one of the remaining dates listed below. Bring your singing voices though, audience participation is constantly called upon.

Rain Is Burning” UK Acoustic Tour: 

Oct 4th: HULL O’Riley’s

Oct 5th: BRADFORD Nightrain

Oct 6th: NORWICH B2

Oct 8th: SHEFFIELD Corporation

Oct 9th: LONDON The Black Heart

Oct 10th: CANNOCK The Station

Oct 11th NORTHAMPTON The Black Prince

For ticket information and tour updates, please visit  https://www.keithstjohn.com/

Review – Dave

 

 

 

 

 

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