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'Live At The Iridium NYC'
(Frontiers Records)
Release Date: January 23rd 2015

tony conley

pat travers

Pat Travers has realized the importance of having a great band. He still does, and Travers and company are hitting it hard and are on the mark with their new 'Live At The Iridium NYC' set.

As seventies guitar heroes go, Pat is still delivering the goods. Coming off a very strong studio release ('Can Do'), the man and his band are on fire and still kicking ass. This is definitely not an oldies act.

Travers' trademark tone is largely unchanged and his love for the heavier groove is still intact, and that's a beautiful thing. He never mails it in, or rests on staid pentatonic licks, he's still one of the sleeker models of his era and he keeps himself in check by having a very hot handed co-guitarist in the band in Kirk McKim, who supplies great twin leads with the man and some stunningly good rhythm work - when either player takes a solo, the other guy is digging in and pushing it all further down the road.

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Surprisingly, it's Travers' voice that may be the most impressive relic from the hey days - at a very young 60, he's turned to martial arts training to keep himself strong, and limber, and others would do well to take note. When he goes into the choruses on the classic 'Crash And Burn', he's as strong as ever.

He went through his blues period, as most hot pickers do at some point, but it's great to see him rocking so hard. 'Heat In The Street' is another classic that runs as fast as it did in 79, and when Travers and McKim lock into the dual guitar sections it's guitar nirvana. Sandy Gennaro (drums) and Rodney O'Quinn (bass) are a brilliant rhythm section, and they push the guitars hard on every track.

'Josephine' from Travers' 2010 release, 'Fidelis', slows things down a bit, and it reminds me a lot of Phil Lynott's more romantic moments. It's a ballad, but the band doesn't back down its intensity a bit, and there's still plenty of hard hitting moments. Even when the band does a blues, they kick like a mule - 'I've Got News For You' is a twelve bar blues of significant swagger, and bluster.

But what the band does best is Travers' funk informed take on hard rock and dare I say, boogie. 'I La La La Love You' is a perfect example as Gennaro chops up the beat, and Travers does his best "I'm really more of a soul singer" thing that he does so well.

Travers has always specialized in dipping his guitar tone in some time based effects to spice up his PRS/Marshall rig, and his take on the standard 'Red House' never wears thin as a result, and again McKim is right there with him. Together they manage to keep this old chestnut most interesting. 'If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day' delves into ZZ Top territory, and special guest Jon Paris plays some fiery harp around the slippery slide guitars. This is great stuff.

I tried yet again to listen to Cream's reunion concert CD the other day, and I still could not abide Clapton's insistence of playing his Strat instead of a Gibson on these occasions and when I hear what Travers and McKim do on 'Spoonful' and I know why. This is thick, syrupy, tough hum bucking tones, and it's exactly what the song requires.

'Black Betty' closes out the set, and it remains one of my very favorite seventies guitar moments - my friend Bill Bartlett had the hit with his band Ram Jam back in 1977 and I know he'll smile when he here's this faithful version that's been in Travers' live set for quite some time. Travers and McKim are terrifically in sync as they nail every harmony, and together they are blistering.

If you like Southern fried hard rock and blues rock, you absolutely can't go wrong with Live At The Iridium NYC. Pat Travers still has it in spades - but this CD, and get your ass to see one of the most passionate guitar heroes still out here on the boards.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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