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Mike Tramp: Our Black Heart, Camden, London
25th March 2017

andy rawll
Words and Pictures: Andy Rawll

mike tramp

In common with many of his 1980s contemporaries, like Kip Winger, once White Lion's brand of slick arena rock was usurped by the insidious ooze of grunge, Mike tramped back to basics and reinvented himself as a worthy singer-songwriter of note.

Garnering acclaim since his solo debut, 'Capricorn', in 1998 and building a reputation as a strong and passionate solo performer, this was a great return gig to Camden by the mane man. Invigorated by a proud band of brothers including Soren Andersen (also Glenn Hughes' guitarist), long-time bass buddy Claus Langeskov and Baal drummer Kenni Andi, this was a compelling and powerful performance of over two hours.

Although there was plenty for fans of Mike's previous bands to roar about, the majority of the set reflected his last twenty years as a solo artist with his acclaimed 2015 album, 'Nomad', best represented and 'Coming Home' from his newly released 'Maybe Tomorrow' album, a highlight.

mike tramp

The sound and style of the band was refreshingly modern and shorn of the widdles, squeaks and commercial sheen of the originals. Most remarkable was the Dane man's voice that's metamorphosed into a warm, rich and highly emotive instrument and a million miles from his chest-beating, arena filling howl.

Indeed, I heard shades of Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder in his vocal delivery and more than once I heard traces of Tom Petty. As such, former MTV staples like 'When The Children Cry' with their Team America 'Hell Yeah' attitude have morphed into a rich Team Americana vibe, allowing the true sentiment of the song and the power of melody to shine through. The subtle and understated cover of 'Radar Love' that closed the show perfectly embodied this transformation.

Best of all was the openness of his performance, when between songs he shared his sense of happiness at finally feeling fulfilled in his art and how kinship with the audience and his bandmates was more valuable to him than any soulless sell-out arena show. Quite revelatory and unreservedly recommended.


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