Review: Walter Trout – Stramash, Edinburgh

Walter TroutStramash is a beautiful venue located in Edinburgh’s Cowgate area, next door to La Belle where I was just a few weeks ago for Church of The Cosmic Skull. With its exposed wooden beams and wooden-backed venue name above the stage, it feels like a converted barn and feels like the perfect location for an intimate gig with a bona fide blues legend.

I was especially excited for tonight as Glasgow-based Blue Milk was due to be the opening act. Their brand of electric delta blues is not to be missed. Sadly it is missed as at the last minute they are no longer performing and with no reason given we a left waiting for the main event to start.

By the time Walter and his band appear on the tiny stage, the venue is packed mainly with members of the Edinburgh Blues Club who are hosting tonight’s event. The set begins with “I Can Tell”, a foot-stomping 12-bar blues with Walter shredding on his Stratocaster much to the excitement of the crowd. “Wanna Dance” is one of the more refreshing tracks and a break from the stale 12-bar blues format that plagues the blues. It’s on tracks like this that Walter really shines both on guitar and vocals. Likewise with “All Out of Tears”, a slow blues number that smoulders intensely. “Ride Til I’m Satisfied” features some tasty Hammond organ from former King King keys player Bob Fridzema who has been playing with Trout since last year.

As with the previous time I had seen Walter perform, his tour manager Andrew Elt joins them onstage for a handful of numbers providing backing vocals and rhythm guitar courtesy of his blazing red Fender Telecaster; one such number is the driving “Playing Hideaway”, Walter’s fingers are really flying now and it’s one of the hottest solos of the night. Trout seems in high spirits and regales the crowd with stories about how he came up with many of the songs featured in the set, and of course about his near-death experience battling liver failure before playing “Almost Gone” from his triumphant comeback record “Battle Scars”.

In August Walter will release his 30th album ‘Ride’, a staggering number of albums over an extraordinary career, and a handful of tonight’s songs come from his 2020 release “Ordinary Madness”. Closing up with “Red Sun” Walter, as is now customary, extols the virtues of becoming an organ donor to potentially save a stranger’s life as it saved his own life 8 years ago.

After a quick pop backstage the band return for a single encore, a barnstorming cover of Rory Gallagher’s “Bullfrog Blues” that has the now frenzied audience lapping up every note. And with that, it’s back out onto the street before 10 pm whilst it’s still daylight.

All future live dates from Walter Trout can be found here.

‘Ride’ is available 19th August via: Provogue / Mascot Label Group. Pre-order details here.

Review – Colin PLumb

Live images – Rob Wilkins – Exeter, October 2019

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