Not a power trio indeed: when Richard Thompson lamented not having the walls of Marshall stacks associated with the power trios of the 1960s before leading his group through a faithful rendering of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Hey Joe, he was conveniently forgetting that he, bass guitarist Taras Prodaniuk and drummer Michael Jerome had personified that strain of rock music blazingly well several times already, not least on an unspeakably brilliant Hard On Me, where Thompson's guitar heroism went off the excite-o-meter.
They'd also personified a folk-rock band and a country outfit – and both of these on the jig-a-twang guitar break on opener Stuck on the Treadmill – as well as a jazz trio, and if it sounds a mite fanciful to suggest three musicians can represent a swing orchestra, Thompson's guitar is well capable of conveying the sound and harmonies of an entire horn section. Cut to the jubilant final number of a six-song encore, Tear Stained Letter, and to these ears, the Cajun/R&B instrumentation of the original was somehow factored into the trio's version.
Thompson is one of the 1960s survivors who seems to get better with age. The songs from his latest album, Electric, that made up a generous portion of the set stood proudly among his classics, showing his skills at encapsulating the darker side of the human psyche as unbeatably sharp and pungent, and the two hours or so that his trio spent onstage, although fantastically rich in detail, supernaturally tight group interplay, grooving eloquence and poker faced wit, were over in a what felt like a heartbeat.
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