Friday night at Cabaret Mille End – Pat Travers brought his high caliber guitar chops to Montreal. It was the first time in almost twenty years the songwriter of ‘Crash and Burn’ flicked his pick to a Montreal audience.
One can only wonder why it took so long …?
Travers – a transplanted Canadian. An Ottawa – raised son who has been living in Orlando, Fla. since 1980, arrived at the worse possible time. His long awaited appearance marred by the opening of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Hundreds of people who may have jumped on the ‘guitar rock’ bandwagon and attended Pat’s show – instead acting like sheep and flocking to La Place de Festival to witness Feist destroy a grand opening …
The Pat Travers Band was here in support of their new album which will be released near the end of July. The disc is titled ; ‘ Can Do’. A fitting title for the man who for so many years was known as the ‘ Boom! Boom! – Out go the Lights!’ guy. Fitting because Travers ‘can do’ it better than most and he proved it with a couple of his new songs …
‘Can Do’ – the title track, is a genuine rocker. A wake up the kids and shake the neighbors kinda tune. It is entrenched with a more mature Travers soloing with his trademark lightning fast fingers. Digits that may just be a little quicker than five years ago. An fact Travers himself attributes to a fitness regime he started in 2004. The song is a powerhouse and puts The Pat Travers Band in perfect harmony. As tight as a girdle on an obese person.
Another new song performed before 200 people last night – is a ballad. It is Travers’ soon-to-be-hit. If Pat owned a supermarket, the song ‘Diamond Girl’ would be his lost leader. A ‘Pop’ tune which is tailor made for radio airplay although it is not Travers’ style. An ode to a woman who makes her man feel lucky to have her. Soft guitar licks reminiscent of an angel’s wings flapping in the wind. A shadow – light as a feather, hovering over a sweet message to a woman who is loved …
‘Crash and Burn’ – the evening’s biggest moment; talent-wise.
The original ‘hit for Travers and a tune indicative of the early eighties sound. With hints of Frank Marino‘s ‘Dragonfly’ – this song dominated the airwaves and is a perfect example of what happens when guitar meets bass. A bleeding so natural – so uniquely splendid, it is the song which kept Travers afloat on the sea of music for so many years. Last night, for the length of the song – a haunting feeling engulfed the venue. Travers – ‘the ghost from music past’, narrating his experience and wisdom onto fans of old and new.
The surprise of the evening was the Blues portion of the show. A two song homage to Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell. Travers is a Blues guy so the choices not too bizarre. The surprise was – just how well the band pulled the songs off. They were profound with guitar, deeper with bass and depth -defying with a backseat drum kit. Drummer Sandy Genero; a human metronome. Snapping the snare allowing bassist Rodney O’ Quinn the passage to rhythm built on old – school Blues. An opening of the vault into music history. Kirk McKim – Pat’s best friend and fellow axeman, fueling a fire lit with a passion for the music that inspired Rock n Roll.
Richard Newell’s (aka King Biscuit Boy) spirit was front and center just like any Pat Travers show. ‘Boom Boom – Out Go the Lights’ – a song which Travers heard through the ‘biscuit man’ at the age of thirteen, played live like it always is. Raw, energetic and a genuine crowd pleaser. Travers’ voice – complete with a raspiness owned by few – performed by fewer. ‘Snortin’ Whiskey and Drinkin’ Cocaine’ – another standard Travers fare in concert. A bookend to ‘Boom Boom’. An ignition switch to an engine primed with seventies oil.
Travers’ uniqueness shone through Friday night. Like a beacon cutting through a fog that hovered over the opening of the Jazz festival.
Rightly so …
- Pat Travers – Boom Boom; On Come the Lights ! (keenemusic.wordpress.com)
- PAT TRAVERS BAND To Release ‘Can Do’ In July (blabbermouth.net)
- TEN YEARS AFTER, EDGAR WINTER BAND, CANNED HEAT, RICK DERRINGER, PAT TRAVERS Confirmed For Rock’N’Blues Fest Tour (bravewords.com)
- Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Rolling Stone? (keenemusic.wordpress.com)
- PAT TRAVERS To Release New Album In July; Audio Samples Streaming (bravewords.com)