Get Out More.......................Gig Review
DEREK TRUCKS BAND (O2 Academy)
His name is revered by guitar aficionados, but unknown to the rest of us – for now at least. But according to Robin Valk, the stadiums are beckoning.
This was one of those ‘you should have been there’ gigs. I can only think of a few occasions where I’ve been lucky enough to watch a purely great musician and his band at work at such close range. I was fifteen feet away, and it was just great. That’s a rare privilege. I left very happy.
When you mention guitarist Derek Trucks to most people, you’re going to draw a blank. He’s not really well known here, he’s certainly not fashionable or starry, and his roots are in US Southern Rock. His own albums have been grudgingly released in the UK with little fanfare, and there was no serious promotion for the three UK club dates he played in the UK - including Birmingham on Friday 17th – as part of a summer swing through Europe.
But then, Trucks is sensationally gifted, with awesome slide guitar skills, great taste, and a truly adventurous musical approach. He has been raved about in guitar magazines for ages. He’s been with veteran Southern Rockers the Allman Brothers band for ten years, joining founder member (and uncle) Butch Trucks. And he’s still only 30. Eric Clapton has sung his praises. His albums, along with you tube vids, music chat rooms and fan sites seem to have done enough to get the word out. So the Academy 2 was sweatily full – lots of fifty quid blokes - and pretty damn up for him.
The music itself? Diverse, uncompromising, funky as hell. Trucks is, overwhelmingly, a musician rather than a showman. He effortlessly works in jazz and world music into his bedrock repertoire of soulful Southern Rock. In the second set, the band reeled off an astonishing jazz workout of ‘Greensleeves’ which segued in to a Raga, and then into a flute-led ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’. Not your average boogie band, then.
This was breathtaking stuff. Trucks is an economical musician: he stays on one guitar all night, and he doesn’t use effects pedals. He hardly addresses the audience, except to introduce the band. And, of course, the band is just great – a rock solid rhythm section, killer keyboards, percussion and lead vocals.
The next time Trucks comes over, he’ll play bigger venues. If you missed him this time, be sure to catch him next time around. God only knows what music he’ll be playing by then, but that’s all part of the fun.
For a taster, check out this youtube videoDISCUSS THIS ON THE STIRRER FORUM
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