Thursday, 2 June 2011

Rock, Rock - Nils Lofgren, You ROCK!

Last night we saw some minor rock royalty in the form of legendary guitar man, Nils Lofgren.

Famed and followed in his own right as a multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist and charismatic front man, but also a key part of: The E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen, he worked on Neil Young's After The Goldrush album at the tender age of 17 and was a key member of both Grin and Crazy Horse.

We got a pair of tickets courtesy of a competition run by a mighty fine local radio station a week or so ago after they interviewed Nils about his forthcoming UK tour and it was night one of his 16 date UK tour at a venue in Southampton called The Brook.

The Brook was a cracking venue, looking something like one of the early spit and sawdust venues on the Play Station 2 video game Guitar Hero, the whole audience was close to the stage giving great sightlines of Nils and Greg Varlotta as well as a nose rumblingly good sound with a hard wood floor underfoot. You know how musicians and bands like certain venues, they may not be the biggest or the best looking, but they have a certain something, well The Brook has it in bucketfuls.

It was one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Nils and Greg know how to make a crowd happy, from some cracking between song banter, "I gave up alcohol many years ago, it brought me out in handcuffs" to hearing Nils talk about some of his passions like the guitar school he runs for people back in the USA or his passion for jamming with other musicians to create a 2hr piece of musical magic which is then lost, never to be captured again, because it was created and could only ever exist in that moment.

It was a mixture of classic hits like Cry Tough, No Mercy and the awesome Mud In Your Eye to some of his newer material. One of the most impressive things about the gig was the skill of the two musicians, Nils can play Harp (he opened the gig with a sweet harp solo), Guitar (he must have had at least 5 different ones with him along with his pedal board to vary that sound), he played piano. But both he and Greg had many, many tap dance vs guitar battles during the songs and it sounded and looked incredible. Nils would riff on the guitar and Greg would call out a footing great rhythm in return.

This made my jaw fall down and I smiled muchly at this and wanted to see more and more. I have ideas that more tap dance vs guitar battles should be taking place at gigs all around the world. Nils was just stupenddous on the strings with numerous 5, 6 and 7 minute guitar solos; including one where he played it with his teeth, yes his TEETH!

It was brilliant and would heartily recommend you catch him before he leaves the UK, nearest place to Bournemouth is Hastings or London, full details of the tour can be found here.
Nils Lofgren and The Brook, we shall meet again.

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