Show Review: Pat Travers Puts on Guitar Clinic at Studio Seven

PT3832-1400When your name is Pat Travers and you have a guitar strapped to your body, people expect a shred fest. Thursday night in Seattle was no exception, as Seattle’s Studio Seven was full of fans that had seen Pat do just that a number of times. Some people hadn’t seen him for 3 decades or more, while others(including Paul Passarelli, frontman for Palooka) had seen Travers 10 or more times.

Speaking of Palooka, I got to the venue just in time for their set. The local favorites played in the the pocket or the middle slot of the 3 band bill with The Voodoos opening. Palooka brought a fire to the stage and entertained the hell out of the crowd that was there to see them open up for one of their heroes. Passarelli even mentioned that when he lost his brother, some of Pat’s music helped him get over it.

Palooka,  who is made up of musicians that have played in a laundry list of great Seattle bands, rolled through their setlist playing a no nonsense brand of in your face rock music without all the additives. They stepped on the throttle with killer tunes like “Slide” and the epic “Saving Grace”. Passarelli’s vocals were sharp, while the two guitarists, Chris Quinn and Glen Logan annihilated the eardrums of the front row fans.

After a brief intermission the main event took the stage and during the set, Travers played the songs you’d expect him to play with just the type of reception you’d expect. “Boom Boom Out Goes The Lights” always a crowd favorite, elicited a huge response in the sing-a-long portion of the song. “Snortin’ Whiskey” also brought out the early 80’s in most of the crowd and anyone that can actually remember the early 80’s knows how huge those songs were. The band these days is made up of some heavy hitters and they absolutely blew the roof off all night long. Travers counter-part on the guitar that makes up the other half of that potent twin axe attack is Kirk McKim, a shredder from Texas who’s resume includes stints with Dicket Betts and Great Southern, as well as tours opening up for The Allman Brothers. Florida Bassist Rodney O’Quinn has played or jammed with the likes of Jimmy Page, Ronnie Montrose and The Marshall Tucker Band. The man behind the drum kit Sandy Gennaro has toured and/or recorded with Bo Diddley, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Johnny Winter, Joe Lynn Turner, The Monkees, Michael Bolton and many more “A” listers.

The band also threw down a pretty serious version of “Born Under a Bad Sign”, made famous back in the 60’s by left-handed Texas blues badass Albert King. While not as popular of a hit for Travers, it’s been a mainstay of his live show for many years and certainly another crowd favorite. The Pat Traverse Band turns this classic into a 10 minute, face-melting excursion into all that is holy with the guitar but let’s not forget O’Quinn and Gennaro, their parts in that song are epic as well.

Myself, I’ve seen Pat a few times(back in the early 80’s of course) and although he might have lost a small step and doesn’t get his legs quite as high in the air during the kicks, that’s understandable given that he’s been on the road for many decades. Make no mistake though he is still a force to be reckoned with on the guitar and when him and McKim did battle, they absolutely killed it. I always been a sucker for the twin-guitar attack.

At one point during the night Travers brought out the slide and dished out a tasty amount of southern rock or “rock rock” as Gregg Allman would put it. The Pat Travers Band relies heavily on the blues and while they soup it up and drop the throttle, they never drift far from the roots. Drummer Gennara was animated throughout the whole show and from the drum riser urged the audience to get involved and kept them involved. He clapped and encouraged the crowd to do the same, he knew I was into the show and we had a few of “those” moments where we just kind of looked at each other and grinned. The night was going well.

Pat Travers was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Soon after picking up the guitar at age 12, he saw Jimi Hendrix perform in Ottawa. It had a profound impact on him and Travers began playing in bands early in his teens. By the late 70’s he was playing arenas and although the recent Seattle show wasn’t a big arena show, you couldn’t tell that by watching him on stage. He seems to be a man content with just taking it as it comes and dishing it out to the fans. And the Seattle crowd loved him for that.

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