Pat Travers Band – “Live At The Iridium NY” (Frontiers Music)
One of the icons of Canadian hard blues rock, Pat Travers has been ‘makin’ magic’ since the mid 70s, along with a dazzling array of now famous musicians from Nicko McBrain to Carmine Appice and Tommy Aldridge – to name but a few! Playing a heavy guitar driven rock influenced by Hendrix’s wild n funky style, Travers took good old fashion rock n roll and gave it the spark n sass that saw him kick enough ass to land a deal with Polydor, chalk up coast to coast tours in America with AC/DC, Van Halen and Aerosmith and start to make inroads into Europe by playing at the 1980 Reading Festival. Sadly a change in style to a more softer, commercial edge in “Radio Active” ironically resulted in sales dropping and ultimately label problems which saw Travers ride out the end of the decade on a quiet note. Still remaining a cult figure with a name, the 90s saw him play on various classic rock and blues connoisseur releases and thanks to his legion of ‘HammerHead’ fans, still continue touring on the international circuit. Having done an extensive European tour at the end of 2011, along with 70,000 Tons Of Metal and a bunch of concerts at the beginning of the year Travers was once again on fire and with old drummer Sandy Gennaro joining him once again, recording live seemed liked the best way to capture the true essence of the Pat Travers Band! Culled from two shows played at the intimate Iridium Club in NYC, it’s long way from the 55,000 seater Oakland Coliseum he played back in 1978, but frankly his brand of rock is suited to any venue given it is timeless in both its sound, style and played through his veteran fingers on that trademark Gibson Les Paul. From classics like the swanky ‘Rock n Roll Susie’ and the Rush tinged ‘Heat In The Street’ to the more modern deep n soulful ‘Josephine’ to the pure blues of ‘Spoonful’ this is for anyone who craves honest, no effects guitar driven rock from its origins in the 70s and delivered by those who played it back in the day. Beyond his talent, I’ve always admired Travers for resisting the temptation to go the way of the guitar god, but rather to keep the spirit and essence of true rock alive in his material but delivered through a solid band effort, where the songs mattered more than individualistic protracted solos and that feeling is truly captured on this 12 track par excellence recording. Although now in his 60s, Pat Travers and his band are well and truly alive and as they said back then – from the streets of Toronto, to the streets of London, now, here to kick your ass… The Pat Travers Band!!!