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Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Shepherds Bush Empire, London - 15th April 2015 | FESTIVALPHOTO
 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Shepherds Bush Empire, London - 15th April 2015

 Betyg

Review4006_kws

Tonight's gig opened with Ben Poole. He's got the difficult job of opening for Kenny Wayne Shepherd but shows no sign of nerves and simply gets on with doing his best to impress the crowd and did a great job - it wasnt long before it was clear the crowd were enjoying his set. Ben sings and plays guitar while being backed by a bassist, drummer and keyboard player. It was a very good set - some nice keyboard work, some lovely guitar playing and very good vocals, and was a great start to the night.

This was my second time at the Shepherds Bush Empire for a Blues gig in the space of a few days, but despite both gigs being for Blues artists they couldn't have been more different. While Robin Trower plays some beautiful blues, it's a fairly laid back style and the seated audience meant that the atmosphere was noticeably different to tonight where Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays a far louder, rockier style of blues in front of a standing audience.

Tonight Kenny Wayne Shepherd treats us to a superb show that covers a wide range of blues - from the slower stuff right through to Blues-Rock. It's a fantastic show and the crowd were clearly loving it - in fact I don't think I've seen an audience at a blues gig before showing so much energy and enthusiasm.

With some well known guitarists it does feel like the band is of little importance and are only there to fill in the gaps between the guitar solos, but that's definitely not the case with Kenny Wayne Shepherd - here the show is a proper band show, with the spotlight being shared between the members - at times it's Kenny Wayne Shepherd doing vocals or a guitar solo, at other times it's Riley Osbourn on keyboards that is the centre of attention. It's no surprise then that Kenny Wayne Shepherd has surrounded himself with very talented musicians including Chris Layton (Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble) on the drums, who we were told was due to fly back to the US the next day to be inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame.

Tonight's set included songs from across the whole of Kenny Wayne Shepherd's 20 year career, right back to the first album with "Deja voodoo" being introduced as the song that introduced his band to the world. It's not just old song though, there were songs from the latest album, released last year, and also an Iggy and the Stooges cover ("Search and destroy") which featured on the album he did with The Rides (Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg).
On the subject of The Rides, there's good news for fans as he announced that they've just finished recording the second album so that should be out later this year.
Like many Blues artists Kenny Wayne Shepherd includes some covers in the set, and tonight in addition to the Iggy and the Stooges cover we also get songs from Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elmore James, BB King, Slim Harpo and Jimi Hendrix. It does seem to be the case that Blues musicians are more keen to celebrate the Blues artists that influenced them than musicians of other genres are, and that's something I love - no matter which artist gets you into the blues, going to their gigs means you'll be introduced to songs from other great artists.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd is an artist who can appeal to Blues lovers and also to rock fans equally - tonight's show certainly had plenty to appeal to fans of either genre, and indeed watching the show it did seem more like a rock concert than a blues one based on the performances. Both Kenny Wayne Shepherd and singer Noah Hunt move around the stage a lot, and while he may be great at singing the blues, Noah does look more like a rock singer with the way he moves around the stage and swings the mic stand around. It's part of what makes the gig have such a high energy level - it's not just the great music, it's the performances on stage that help energise the crowd.

An absolutely fantastic gig - if you get the chance to go and see Kenny Wayne Shepherd play live then go, you won't be disappointed.

Setlist:

Never lookin' back
Everything is broken
The house is rockin'
King's highway
True lies
Search and destroy
Heat of the sun
Talk to me baby
Deja Voodoo
Born with a broken heart
BB King medley
Dark side of love
Shotgun blues

Blue on black
King bee
Oh well
Voodoo child

Writer: Anthony May
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