GIG REVIEW: Symphony Hall, Birmingham - 21 Feb

Richard Thompson and his Electric Trio + Robert Ellis at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK - 21st February 2013

Thompson is incredibly versatile and he can make albums or do a tour in various guises, solo with a guitar or with all manner of bands, with styles ranging from folk to rock and lots of stuff in between. However, his new Electric Trio is probably the heaviest and rockiest outfit he has ever put together. It’s along the lines of the guitar-bass-drums power trio, as employed by the great Jimi Hendrix Experience. Like Hendrix, Thompson is a giant of the electric guitar and has justifiably been rated as among the top 20 guitarists by Rolling Stone magazine. As a modest man Thompson probably wouldn’t want to compare himself with Jimi.

The evening goes down so well that the audience demands two encores. Interestingly, as the band comes on for the first encore, a member of the audience shouts a request for ‘Wall of Death’. Richard Thompson says he is not sure if the band know how the song goes and he starts playing it solo. The band gradually join in and quickly get the hang of it and do an excellent rendition. Thompson and the band clearly really enjoy playing together and are not worried about taking risks. They are true professionals. A new song, ‘Stony Ground’ is then slipped into the encore and manages to sound just like one of the classics. Then audience participation – ‘Little Sally Rackett’, with a ‘haul away’ chorus, because (Thompson states) Birmingham loves a sea shanty.

John Bentley, Gig Junkies