Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DVD: Travers & Appice Featuring T.M. Stevens ~ Live At The House Of Blues

(Click on heading to visit official website of Carmine Appice.)
Style: hard rock, blues-rock
Label: Fuel Label
Year: 2010
Home: n/a

Concert location: House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Year Recorded: 2010
Length: 60 minutes
Bonus Features: pre-show interview with Pat Travers & Carmine Appice; gallery slide show with T.M. Stevens voiceover

Members: Carmine Appice ~ drums/vocals
Pat Travers ~ guitar/vocals
T.M. Stevens ~ bass/b. vocals


Originally planned to be Derringer/Appice following the Derringer, Bogert, Appice album scheduling problems prevented that union so to fulfill contractual obligations in stepped Canadian blues-rock guitarist Pat Travers who had previously jammed with legendary drummer Carmine Appice at a NAMM music conference show. The partnership proved positive resulting in It Takes A Lot Of Ball that featured a 70's-esque sound of rock drums & thick guitar playing. African-American funkmaster T.M. Stevens contributed bass to a track. Going on tour on the eve of their follow-up the three reunited again. This DVD, also available on a CD/DVD combo under the name Keep On Rocking!, was one of the first gigs. In many ways it might be a good introduction to all three folks individually, in addition to T&A. There's no flashing lights, no special effects, no flash ... its all about the music. Its so modest that one might forget that T.M. Stevens is the new boy in the group of a career that .. only .. goes back to playing in James Brown's band & that the guys behind him include a Canadian legend & the man that created the first drum clinic. This is really very straight ahead 70's feeling rock driven by Traver's blazing guitar going through an array of blues-inspired riffs & singing most of the lead vocals. Travers is a far better rhythm player as his solos, here at least, seem to lack individuality. Appice keeps the beat steady but at the same time somewhat surprisingly reserved for someone of his stature with few solos, while singing a few songs in a surprising high tenor for someone of his physical ruggedness. Stevens, by far the most flashy of any of them in every way, contributes straight ahead basslines that probably does him the least amount of justice of the trio, as those familiar with his work will feels he's under-utilized ... made obvious by a bass/vocal only rendition of his "Turn Me On", co-written by Al Pitrelli of Megadeth/Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Here Stevens shows us what makes him so funky & what he can do & what the Stevens experience is all about by singing his solo like George Winston but throwing in some wah-wah effects on his bass, along with a lot of fascinating finger movements. On some level it feels like the climax of the show as its full of surprises, let alone being one of the most unique bass solos one will hear ... though normal for Stevens. Turn up the volume & check-out Stevens bass in the mix during the concert. He might be limited in chord progressions but he's still doing more than most bassists & filling out the sound a lot. On the whole the biggest problem with the music might not be the unflashiness or the average 70's blues-rock feel, but the lyrics. Neither Travers nor Appice aren't known wordsmiths nor seemingly have anything interesting to sing about, which means the results tend to distract from the music. Appice co-wrote "Do You Think I'm Sexy" with Rod Stewart which they revamp here. But, be warned that its nothing like the famed disco-tinged version, maybe to its detriment. Other tracks include stuff from the Beck, Bogart & Appice catalog & a couple solo Travers songs. Bonuses include a real highlight in a casual pre-show interview with Travers & Appice talking about how they got together to the music to each other & even Traver's attempt to start a fashion statement with a monocle. Travers dominates the conversation while Appice throws in a sly comment ... it's rough New York Long Island meets Canadian polite & fun to watch.

Track listing: Taken
Better from a Distance
I Don't Care
Crash & Burn
Living Alone
Gotta Have You
Turn Me On
Can't Escape the Fire/La, La Love
Evil
Do Ya Think I'm Sexy
Boom, Boom

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