Three years out of a stint with Procol Harum, Robin Trower in 1974 released an album that would accomplish many things all at once. Bridge of Sighs introduced pop culture to the actual prison bridge in Venice that inspired the title cut, became the British rocker’s defining record and career path, and got the then-little-known guitarist called the White Hendrix. But that last bit sounds crass, does it not? I prefer thinking of Hendrix/Trower as two sides of the same coin.
- Friday, May 19, 2017, 8 p.m.
House of Blues,
1055 Fifth Avenue,
$29.50 - $59.50
Curiously, the lead guitarist himself did not handle the vocals in his power trio. With Bill Lordan on drums, I wonder how many concertgoers back when the band was filling colosseums thought that James Dewar, the bass player with the unforgettable (and almost R&B voice) was actually Trower, who generally stood off to the side and made all those funny faces while he worked his guitar mojo. But some find Trower’s subsequent years his best. With ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce, the two worked the power trio thing with Lordan and released a couple of notables: BLT and Truce.
Out on the road again, this time in support of 2017’s Time and Emotion, the guitarist has released or appeared on an astounding number of records. Never one for guitar flash, Trower instead followed the BB King theory of the one-note-shot-to-the-heart style of lead guitar. Who doesn’t remember the purely evil chord progression that opens Bridge of Sighs? If forced to pick his influence, I’d say Albert King over Jimi. Like most British teens during the ’60s, Trower learned the music from American bluesmen like Muddy Waters or Son House.
Seventy-two now and reed-thin and displaying a bounty of forehead, Trower’s actually better at power rocking than when he was younger and hairier, something that none of us who grew up with him could have imagined. We didn’t know this would be our future: old guys killing it on guitar.
Strange Vine also performs.