The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
LIVE MIKE TRAMP The Diamond Mansfield 24 May 2013 Review






29TH MAY 2013



In Mike Tramp there’s a real sense of the elemental, a real sense of spirit and defiance. There’s nothing fake and nothing ‘put on’. While so many musicians from the eighties tread out their standard fare over and over, or put out half-hearted albums that revisit their glories in a series of diminishing returns, or simply fade away, Mike Tramp just seems to grow stronger with a passion born out of being on the road for a lifetime, and of heart break and of pain. It’s mesmerising.






Supported by the slimmed down version of Teenage Casket Company playing an all-acoustic set of (should have been) hits and songs from their soon to be released third album the night gets off to a great start. TCC is one of those bands that you will kick yourself for not getting on board when you hear them; and their sleazy pop rock anthems actually work great in an acoustic setting.



Rob (Lane) and Rob (Wylde) are also hilarious guys which makes the banter just as entertaining as the music.  For me it’s the first time I’ve seen them live in any format and so I can only imagine how good these songs sound played the way they are on the albums.



Our highlights are many but new song 'You Only Love me when you Hate me' and old favourites 'One Thing You Don't Need'; 'Down on Luck'; ''Don't Look at me Like That'; 'Thank You for Nothing' and 'Best Friend is my Radio' make a compelling argument to check out these guys immediately.






This being the last date on Mike’s UK tour means we get to hear him at his very best and like in Wakefield the sound is crystal clear. The venue here is also a little bigger and the crowd are drawn to the front of the stage. The between song chat too is different with news, stories and tales from the road and about the songs themselves. You can’t help but feel yourself drawn in and become part of the night and there’s a clear affection Mike has for the UK and especially the Freak of Nature tours in the 90’s.



Starting off, as he did in Wakefield with the title track of the new album, we again get a roller-coaster ride through Mike’s career, but he manages to mix it up and keep it fresh for those of us that have seen other dates on this tour and for me that’s the best aspect of any performer.



With a song list and musical history as rich as Tramp’s it’s always good to hear the songs stripped back to the way they were constructed and some of the arrangements of the White Lion classics really shine in this format, given an additional twist here and there.



We get an early run through White Lion’s ‘Cry For Freedom’ and ‘Love Don’t Come Easy’ standing side by side the newer songs sound just as good especially the hypnotic ‘Ain’t the Life I asked For’ which is up there with the best compositions he’s written.



The part of the set that showcases the Freak of Nature material is always a big audience favourite and as always whenever I hear songs like ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Need’ I always wonder why that ground-breaking band dipped under the radar. You always feel though that Mike isn’t into ‘regret’, and though the journey we all lead in life may at times be hard, or even unbearable, you feel that Mike realises and appreciates the things that are really important like family and friends. At a Mike Tramp concert that includes you.






Tonight’s show is mesmerising, Mike Tramp just has a way of making his audience feel at ease and very much part of proceedings, it’s a way of connecting with an audience that  few performers manage to pull off so well.  Of course the crowd has it’s favourites as do I, but at times you feel a tingle in the back of your neck as he launches into a song like ‘More to Life Than This’ and you feel the sheer power of the words and the melody. Many here are understandably waiting for the White Lion songs, but equally many more are taken aback by the sheer quality of the music from later years.



In a long set Mike delivers two hours of music that is full of emotion and sets out the story of his journey so far. ‘Cobblestone street’ may be his most recent and most personal work to date and the emotion of the journey is documented in songs that will stay with you for a long time. And at the end the audience is invited to the stage to chat, tell their stories and be welcomed into the family.  



Catching up with Mike after the show he tells me that he remembered to play ‘Hymn For Ronnie’ for me and we shake hands and say our goodbyes. It’s been great to catch up with him again after seeing him so many times all over the World, next time may well be Australia next year, but there’s plenty of touring out there for him between now and then.



If you get a chance to see this show whether in Europe or in the US later in the year you have to go. It’s an experience you won’t forget, and an evening of real warmth and great music.  







words and images by Mark Diggins



LIVE MIKE TRAMP The Diamond Mansfield 24 May 2013 Review