Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Uli Jon Roth’s Ultimate Guitar Experience, March 19 at the Venue

Any show at the Venue is a tradeoff. It’s a useful space with decent sound. I like that they do early shows. I’m totally okay with clearing out at 10:30 to make way for the clubgoers. That’s great. The down side is being merely tolerated by the club staff, who on this night left me feeling like a degenerate for daring to breathe the same air as them.

Andy Timmons started the show with a rock/fusion/Americana blend that reminded me of Morse and the Dixie Dregs at time. He played with a rhythm section who also did duties for Uli’s set. There was a tastefully arranged Beatles medley in tribute to George Martin. He talked affably to the crowd between songs and went up in my estimation by not walking off the stage when some asshat yelled for “Freebird.”

Jennifer Batten played solo, accompanied by backing tracks on a laptop and a screen that showed old film clips and animation. Her set emphasized fun rather than raw chops. For example, she mashed up Weather Report’s “Teen Town” with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and ended her set with a medley of 50 years worth of guitar riffs, from the Ventures to Van Halen. Quite a party piece.

Uli Jon Roth left no doubt who the night’s real guitar hero was. His set was like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and my birthday all in one. He wasted no time delivering the heavy hitters—“The Sails of Charon” was the second song, followed by “We’ll Burn the Sky”, “Sun in My Hand” and “In Trance.” The band numbered seven people at times, with the singer (a huge Native American fellow who utterly ruled!) coming and going depending on the song. I can’t say Uli's Sky guitar, with its dog-whistle tones high up on the neck, is my favourite instrument, but it’s part of Uli’s whole deal, and he’s undeniably a wizard on the thing. It was a thrill to watch him work. To end the night, Timmons came out again for an all-Hendrix encore of “All Along the Watchtower” and “Little Wing.” When the set ended, having gone 15 minutes over curfew, the Venue started blasting the shittiest club music imaginable to hurry all us gross old people out the doors.
(Photo by Bob Logan)

No comments: