WALTER TROUT, The Trout Brothers @Assmembly, Leamington 10/05/17


The glorious return of the blues legend continues

Finally, a family party that isn’t crap. Those words are more than just a throwaway line MV wrote last year, it sums up the ethos of not just The Trout Brothers, but also the gig tonight as a whole.

Walter, living – and loving – his second chance after his life-threatening illness, able to celebrate music with his sons. You can only imagine how special that is for them all.

A slightly changed Trout Brothers from last year again perform opening duties. The youngest, Dylan, is back at school meaning Mike takes over behind the kit this time, with oldest sibling Jon the frontman in every sense.

As a three piece – Adam Ditt, their friend on bass – it is perhaps natural that there should be a Hendrix touch here and there, but the breadth of material they play is admirable. From out and out blues to a Mike Trout penned garage rocker, these boys are so skilled they can pull it all off.

They carry the family name, but the talent too. And it really doesn’t matter who their dad is, The Trout Brothers are a mighty fine band in their own right.

As he plays “Say Goodbye To The Blues” tonight and dedicates it to B.B King (“the finest bluesman of all” he states), there is a look on Walter Trout’s face that suggests he views every gig as a bonus.

Just after this, he reels a few off from the quite magnificent “Battle Scars” record from a couple of years ago, which lays bare his illness and his recovery. If he hadn’t had a Liver Transplant Trout wouldn’t have been here and the sheer desperation of those times comes through in the lyrics.

It is, though, interesting to hear the development of those songs. In particular “Almost Gone”, which is a screeching blueser here and the fragility of “Haunted By The Night” disappears to be replaced by something approaching bluster, while the ZZ Top like “Playin’ Hideaway” is gleeful and turned into an audience singalong.

Trout evidently hasn’t come all this way not to play loud and for the two hours he is onstage tonight he is absolutely on top form.

Joined by Jon for a glorious jam in the middle of the set (fellow Trout Brother Adam Ditt is on bass throughout) and Stephen Dale Petitt and his bassist Stephanie Lord for a wonderful “Rock Me Baby” there is a real sense of mischief and fun here.

“Serve Me Right To Suffer” gives way to a drum solo, before the classic “Goin’ Down” is delivered with the air of a bar room brawl about it.

That acts as set closer, but everyone here wants to squeeze every last second out of it, so of course there’s an encore and “Girl From The North Country” is given a twist, before a rip-roaring blues rock conclusion is what the evening demanded and gets.

In between all this, Trout asks everyone here to think about becoming an organ donor to potentially give a second chance to someone just like him. Laudable, of course. But it is not just about a lease of life, but also what you do with it, and here Walter Trout is the literal living proof of what can be achieved when you grasp it with both hands.

Together with two of his sons and his other bandmates, he again provided one of the most uplifting concerts you will ever see.


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