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GIG REVIEW: THE INDEPENDENT - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London 25 Feb
2/26/2013 (updated 2/26/2013)

Richard Thompson, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

...loaded with tense, involving guitar solos that display his virtuoso talents without sounding show-offish. Thompson's guitar runs from Django Reinhardt vamping through country twang to bluesy trill, even adding a surf-rock vibrato to sea shanty ‘Little Sally Racket'. His bandmates match him every step of the way, with long-term drumming stalwart Michael Jerome adeptly adding some inventive fills, thundering in a Ginger Baker manner over a darkly sonorous 'For Shame Of Doing Wrong'.

Bassist Taras Prodaniuk provides melodic backbone and the pair rarely over-egg what could have been a self-obsessed pudding, only adding solos together on forties jazz tribute 'Al Bowlly’s In Heaven'. Such a pared-down structure adds greater immediacy to some Thompson favourites: his spin on 'Wall Of Death' comes with giddy exuberance, while 'Tear-Stained Letter', with three family members aboard, is rollicking good fun. There are gentler moments, as when he duets on 'A Heart Needs A Home' with daughter Kami, yet tonight is all about more visceral thrills, as when the trio take on 'Hey Joe'.

They play the tune Jimi Hendrix made his own with wide grins, but their enthusiasm remains infectious.

Chris Mugan, The Independent

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