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Bannerman's Bar, Edinburgh

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

mike tramp

Mike Tramp has come a long way in his lengthy music career from the streets of his native Copenhagen to living in the US through his time with White Lion and then Freak Of Nature and now musically returning to his roots and doing the solo acoustic thing.

Stopping off at Bannerman's Bar in Edinburgh on his current UK tour, a humble but characterful rock bar it is obviously a long way from the stadiums and arenas he played at the zenith of White Lion's career but from the start he was obviously comfortable with his surroundings. So much so that he went around the bar pre-show and introduced himself to the fans having a drink prior to heading into the bar's performance space and had a chat with them all.

The show itself had the same comfortable vibe, just Mike, his acoustic guitar and some low key but quite clever backing tracks. For two hours plus he kept the crowd entertained with a mixture of songs from his career and some nice anecdotes about how the songs were written or the personal experiences that happened while playing them.

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The Danish rock star is in his 50s now but has lost none of his frontman charisma and the voice still has that emotional vibrato making his vocals instantly recognisable.

Much of the set came of course from his White Lion and Freak Of Nature days and sometimes he seemed a bit embarrassed about the White Lion material which is surprising. Always standing out as writing songs of a more serious nature than their hair metal contemporaries in the 80s/90s tracks like 'Broken Heart' and 'Warsong' have aged gracefully and the acoustic treatment given to them tonight gave them a new life and a fresh perspective. Their best known song 'Wait' was aired surprisingly early in the set showing that he doesn't need to lean on the hits.

mike tramp

An unexpected highlight for me was his delicious, lively treatment of Golden Earring's 'Radar Love' which was covered by White Lion. I have seen the veteran Dutch rockers do their own acoustic version and they would have been proud of how fresh the song sounded in Mr Tramp's hands tonight.

The rest of the set consisted of some Freak Of Nature material with an impromptu rendition of 'Rescue Me'(possibly inspired by the twenty year old Freak Of Nature t-shirts in the crowd) sounding fantastic and some songs from his recent solo albums all of which were thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd as well as yours truly. Stand out song from those was probably 'Hymn To Ronnie', an obviously heartfelt tribute to Ronnie James Dio. The material from his latest album 'Museum' sounded good too.

mike tramp

After an inevitable encore and well over two hours of music and stories virtually the whole of the small crowd present formed a patient queue at the merch stand to get this icon of old to sign their purchases and have a chat. Mike Tramp came over as a genuine, humble guy but also as a consummate professional musician.

I don't think it's easy to keep a crowd engaged for two hours plus when it's just you and an acoustic guitar but he has the talent, the songs, the voice and the charisma to do it. I recommend that you catch one of these intimate gigs if you possibly can, you won't regret it.


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