CD Review: Pat Travers Band – Live at the Iridium NYC

CD Review: Pat Travers Band – Live at the Iridium NYC
Frontiers Music Srl
All Access Rating: B+

Pat Travers Band - Live at
the Iridium NYC 2014
Obviously feeling his oats, Pat Travers isn't lacking for confidence when he declares that he's "going to kick your ass" to the crowd at the famed Iridium Club in New York City.

In February 2012, while out on tour with a reunited Pat Travers Band, the fiery guitarist did just that, showcasing a variety of electrifying, finely honed chops in a feverish two-night binge of no-nonsense, working-class blues rock. Perhaps not quite as essential as his 1979 classic concert LP Live! Go For What You Know, Live at the Iridium NYC is energetic, joyous and occasionally stylish, the sizzling funk of "Gettin' Betta" eating the exhaust of a full-throttle "Rock and Roll Suzie" – complete with perfectly in sync dual lead guitars – with the smoky, simmering blues of "Crash and Burn" slinking into a blazing version of "Heat in the Street."

Bold, assertive and galvanizing, the Pat Travers Band – with Sandy Gennaro back on drums – is a finely tuned engine on Live at the Iridium NYC, able to downshift into a smoldering version of Ray Charles' "I've Got News for You" and cook it slowly, before turning around and whipping a celebratory "Ask Me Baby" into shape, although its "Josephine" that sparkles and shines like a cut-glass tumbler full of whisky on the rocks. Its mix of melodic toughness and sweetness goes down easy, but with a slight burn.

Recorded with full-bodied sound and warm clarity, Live at the Iridium NYC is a fine survey of Travers' illustrious career, even if it doesn't approach this kind of music in a particularly fresh or innovative way – not that it has to, considering the high level of performance and raw vitality here. Little additions, like Jon Paris playing blues harp with great feeling on "If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day" and "Spoonful," make for a wonderful listen, with inspired choices all over the set list and Travers' smoking licks laying out a case for him to be mentioned among the all-time guitar greats. The evidence is overwhelming.
– Peter Lindblad

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