CHARLEY FARLEY (PHOTO CREDITS: MORAG FARLEY)
Sari Schorr opened the evening to an audience keen to hear this well established New York singer. Supported by her band, The Engine Room, she has been on a tour of the UK with Walter Trout. Tonight’s gig was the last date of the tour.
From the very first note her huge voice cast a spell over the audience, at times almost operatic in its strength and emotion. The Engine Room are amazing musicians, Innes Sibun (Guitar), Kevin Jefferies (bass) Andres Olinder (Keys) Kevin O’Rourke, (Drums)
With a full 40 minute set which was largely her own material, she absolutely wowed the audience. Even those who had come out to see Walter were drawn in to her amazing talent. Although most of her songs were blues based, she did include a fabulous cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’ which was both musically and vocally superb.
Sari took time to pay tribute to Walter Trout for his support and seemed so humble about being on stage. As a final song, she finished off with a stripped back and soulful cover of Lead Belly’s Black Betty, which the crowd loved.
Check out Sari Schorr at:
The applause which rang in Sari’s ears as she left the stage was repeated when Walter Trout appeared, surrounded by superb musicians. Walter is a master of the blues and he rolled into Ponty Muni like a runaway train.
Interspersing his set with chat, he said it’s great to be back in Wales, especially Pontypridd. Clearly having done his research, he noted that although it is the home of Tom Jones he wasn’t going to play any Tom Jones songs. However, he joked that “Cold Cold Feeling” was a song so good that Tom Jones would have wanted to write it! The crowd loved the whole set - cheering at Walter Trout during each track and any short break between tracks. His vocals were so powerful that when he walked away from his standing microphone, he was still coming across clearly enough for those at the back to fully appreciate this blues Meister.
It was a set including humour between the various musicians on stage as well as the audience and it was clear that everyone in the room was thoroughly enjoying the evening.
As if we didn’t have enough talent on stage, Walter also brought various people to ‘help him out’. First, we saw Innes Sibun join Walter in a perfect rendition of the title track of the new album ‘We’re All in this Together’. Walter gave Innes centre stage and he performed the solos and intricate guitar work flawlessly. Innes has a long career as a guitarist, having played with the likes of Robert Plant and he and Walter are truly phenomenal in the way they work together, both taking turns at leading, full of emotion, showing how the blues should be played. With fingers blurred they took centre stage and delighted the spellbound crowd. It was no surprise to hear him proudly announce that the album was number 1 in the blues charts.
Walter then played tribute to his support and Sari joined Walter and the band on stage for an outstanding performance of “Work No More” which was heartfelt and a beautiful rendition. He gave touching thanks to Sari for her support on the U.K. tour and couldn’t praise her enough.
Every artist needs a good team behind them and Walter is no exception. His third guest on stage was Andrew Elt - who is usually behind the scenes working as his Roadie - Andrew has a powerful voice and his performance of ‘Lord Have Mercy’, was a delight to watch. It’s clear from the look on both guys faces they really enjoy playing together.
As he moves through his set, Walter explains about his liver problem, his 8 months in hospital and his subsequent rehabilitation from learning to talk, walk and even play guitar again. Joined again by Andrew Elt on acoustic guitar for a tribute to Walter’s Wife ‘Take me Home’ he has the audience emotionally involved again.
The acknowledgment of having a skilled team of musicians behind him continue as Danny Avila takes the lead with an impressive bass solo, with his father, Sammy proudly looking on from the wings as the crowd cheer Danny on. Michael Leasure then takes the spotlight with a powerful drum solo, to the delight of the capacity audience. Walter talks about his illness and praises the Welsh Organ donation system saying it was a world leader and should be duplicated all around the world to save lives just like his. He is appreciative of the audience and seems humbled by the support of his fans, even after his very long career.
After a 2hr set, he leaves the stage but returns in response to the crowd demanding more and plays ‘Prisoner of a Dream’ explaining the background and inspiration before dedicating it to a homeless, young lady who would go to the beach and with a shell, write beautiful poetry and allow the tide to wipe the words away. He never spoke to her or knew her name, but was touched enough to write a song for her that she would never hear.
Both of the acts and all the musicians were on top form. The crowd loved it, and once again, the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd showed why it is fast becoming a top Welsh music venue.
Walter Trout can be checked out at:
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY / DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**