The Troy Redfern Band // The Invocation Tour – Live Review // The Treehouse // Frome

The Troy Redfern Band // The Invocation Tour – Live Review // The Treehouse // Frome

The sun is shining in Frome tonight after a few dodgy days of weather.  But who cares?!  As tonight, blues legend Troy Redfern embarks on the first night of his tour; Invocation, in this little Somerset town.

Tonight is a bit unusual, as Redfern has no support band, and that’s a first for me as a reviewer and photographer. It’s usually a long night waiting for the main act, and at times, the support bands can be far from ‘supportive’.  He’ll commence the Invocation Tour completely unsupported, and that can only mean one thing; a mega night for any fan.

Joining Redfern for the tour was Nicky Waters on drums and Keira Kenworthy on bass, and both were masters at their game.  As the clock struck 8 pm, they were up on the stage ready to kick off one almighty setlist bang on time to a modestly filled venue.  As Redfern said a few words and a quick intro, it was straight into the first track ‘All Night Long’, and of course one of the many taken from his latest album Invocation, released in May.

Those who have seen Redfern play live before will be aware of the vast array of guitars that sit on a rack behind him on the stage, each one of them looking battered and bruised but well cherished. With his infamous bottleneck skills, that’s no surprise.

The Treehouse in Frome is a relatively new venue for the town, known for its artistic traits and love of live music; and it’s also the sister venue for The Cheese & Grain, who hosted The Foo Fighters and Sir Paul McCartney before their headline slot at Glastonbury.  But early in his set, the sound and presence on stage, backed by some phenomenal musicianship from Waters and Kenworthy, hits you like a ton of bricks. The drums shook the floor as Redfern regularly took centre stage to deliver riff after riff, solo after solo; it was hard to imagine that you were actually standing in a room upstairs in a pub.

But he was hard to capture under that hat with his face hidden behind those Jack Sparrow dreads and despite his tattoos and usual attire, you can’t help but become drawn into watching his hands grasp each of his guitars, slaying the living daylights out of them while still managing to grasp the bottleneck on his finger.

The set contained a huge amount of tracks from the new album, but the crowd were also treated to some tracks from Redfern’s back catalogue of albums with a few released singles in between. But ‘Ghost’ was a feature during the evening which had never been played live before; a catchy swinging beat to get your feet tapping, silky smooth harmonies and the slide on a steel guitar,  perfectly entwined on this track taken from ‘The Fire Cosmic’ album.

Taking it down a notch came ‘Blind Me’; another track from Invocation.  Redfern had made the comment that perhaps he’d listened to too much Tammy Wynette when he was younger, as this had obviously been heavily influenced by her country sound. Yes, it was a contrast to some of the more rockier tracks we’ve become accustomed to, but once you’d heard Redfern’s fingers slide over the strings of his guitar, he’d most certainly made it his own.

With the mix of clientele tonight, there was a track played that suited everyone in the entire crowd.  Redfern’s setlist comprised of touches of rock, blues, country, and even rockabilly, but all heavily featuring those slides that he is known for.  Add Water’s impeccable drumming and the gently strummed baselines from Kenworthy, the chemistry between them all on stage is electric.

Redfern is also an incredible frontman, and during nearly every track he spends time interacting with the crowd, teasing them with tasty riffs, licks and tricks and the odd kick in the air before heading back to his mic.  Some of the crowd were even dancing, as it’s impossible to just stand and listen without moving your feet to the beat or nodding your noggin.

After many guitar changes, a monumental setlist and some mesmerising tricks, the night was moving quickly. But with a few more tracks to conquer, Redfern ploughed on with the band without taking a breath; and still managed to talk to the crowd in between everyone.

Speaking about some recent issues that he’s had with his back, ‘The Gods of Rock’ were obviously on this side tonight as at one point, he didn’t think he was going to be able to play tonight.  That’s sheer dedication for you.

Having released six albums to date in a short space of time, there were plenty of tracks to choose from for this 90-minute set tonight, and each was played with zeal and ardour. As the end of the night approaches, the penultimate track was ‘Waiting for your Love’; a previously released single with a slow and sexy riff to set the tone and one of the longest guitar solos you could ever witness.

Scantify’ brought the set to a close and what a mighty set it was. All 19 tracks were done and dusted by 9.30 pm and none of the band looked like they’d even broken into a sweat. They made the night look completely effortless.

But the crowd wanted more.  What no encore??  “One more song” was bellowed across the room to which Redfern replied “We’re out of songs on the setlist! But we could play any old shit?”

“Yeah, play any old shit”, another shouted.

And this goes to show how goddamn good this band are. “Play a beat in 7/8”, Redfern told Waters, which he played instantly. “Key C”, he shouted to Kenworthy as she joined in the jam before he finally laid down an off-the-cuff riff on his guitar. Within a couple of minutes, all three of them were playing as if they’d been practising the tune for weeks.  It really was remarkable, the beat was insane and far from ‘any old shit’!!!

The night was definitely one to remember. Having a huge personality such as Troy Redfern’s play on a tiny stage in this small Somerset town, was an absolute privilege. And for a Monday night too (aka a school night), the charisma he had, as well as the band, quickly spilt across the room lighting every corner; despite the poor lighting!!

If you’ve not yet witnessed Troy Redfern play live, think of Oli Brown, Kris Barras and Dan Byrne all rolled into one……and you’re pretty much there. Just get yourself to one of his shows.  You’ll be hooked before you know it and will be playing air guitar at every opportunity.

The Invocation Tour continues…….

Review & Photography: Emma Painter

Pacific Curd Photography


Presented by Dusty Pop, Shock City, Surprise You’re Dead, NX Live and Friends
by Arrangement with On Point Touring


JUNE 2024

Monday 17 June – The Treehouse, Frome
Tuesday 18 June – Retro, Manchester
Wednesday 19 June – Classic Grand, Glasgow
Thursday 20 June, Bannerman’s Edinburgh
Friday 21 June, The Live Rooms, Chester
Saturday 22 June – Asylum 2, Birmingham
Sunday 23 June – Boiler Room, Guildford
Monday 24 June – The Junction, Cambridge
Sunday 25 June, The Joiners, Southampton
Monday 26 June – New Cross Inn, London
Tuesday 27 June – The Forum, Tunbridge Wells