Review: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Warrington Parr Hall

It’s always something of a rare excitement when someone well-known comes to Warrington, and getting to see the sheer technical mastery of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and the delight he seems to take in it, makes that excitement completely worth it. There’s no support for them tonight, so there’s very little preamble before we jump into it – the shows starts early, but if you were planning on getting to bed early too, you’re out of luck, since we get gifted with almost two hours of a powerhouse of a band. I even have to give credit to lead singer Noah Hunt, both for his incredible voice and for it being nice to see someone who’s actually happy to be playing here.

Obviously, Shepherd and his guitar are the main attraction – the band is named for him, after all – but that doesn’t mean that the rest of them are outshone even in the slightest, nor that they don’t get their time in the spotlight. They have the relaxed ease of seasoned professionals but don’t lose any of the genuine joy of getting to play on stage, and it makes watching the show all that more equal parts comforting and sensational.

The first half of the show runs us through the entirety of his ‘Trouble Is…’ album, punctuated with fun little interactions between the band members themselves and between the audience too, including a promise that the encore won’t be long and that they’ll be playing another full hour set after it. They don’t disappoint when it gets to it, and after an hour of watching Shepherd making the technical brilliance of his guitar-playing look effortless, we’re gifted another hour of the same thing, a rotation of four gorgeous guitars that play their own part in the variable audio feast the evening has been.

The encore (though it’s fairer to call it a second set) is the part of the evening where Shepherd really shows off his skills, as we transition to a more instrumental, bluesy vibe that we ride out for another forty minutes. It’s more of a greatest hits now, which is a total treat as extra time, since we’ve already heard all of a very good album. The whole evening is a great tribute to that album, as well as to the legacy of a band, and a man, who’s made a sizeable impact on music already, and who just keeps on adding to it.

Review – El Vipond

The ‘Trouble Is…25’ European tour runs through until May 10th in Amsterdam, more information here.

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