at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., September 19, 2015

MIKE TRAMP (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., September 19, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s not every day that a Rock star compares themselves to an exotic spice from one of those wooden spice racks that everyone used to have in their kitchens many moons ago. “I’m the one that you take out every now and then when you want something just a little bit different” he joked. That analogy sums up where Tramp is musically at this stage in his career. He may not play the sort of music you listen to every day but now and then it just fits the mood.

With new album Nomad closing a trilogy of albums released over a three year period marking Tramp’s musical journey from Hard Rocker to mature singer songwriter, a journey that has been a long, sometimes painful, sometimes thrilling trip from his roots as a teenager from Denmark who left home to seek fame and fortune in the America.

MIKE TRAMP (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., September 19, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Tramp’s last few tours have seen a stripped down acoustic approach but for this tour he returned to a full band set up being joined by the up and coming Danish trio Lucer, who really worked for their money firstly as the support band then as Tramp’s band for night and proved more than up to the challenge despite their tender age.

He may have sold shed loads of records and headlined arenas in the ’80s with White Lion before casting off the spandex and big hair for the more Grunge infused Freak of Nature in the ’90s but Tramp is clearly far more comfortable in his skin as just Mike Tramp.

An energised and enthusiastic Tramp promised a mix of old and new and delivered exactly that, but with a difference. Opener Hungry from White Lion’s platinum seller Pride was radically reworked to render it almost into a new song. Tell Me and Broken Heart had similar reconstruction work and sounded all the better for it.

Tramp explained that he was no longer 25 years old and it wasn’t the ’80s anymore so those older songs have been updated to where he is at now. The essence of the songs remained but there was no desperate attempt to recreate former glories. Maybe there’s a few bands out there that could take a leaf out of Tramp’s book.

MIKE TRAMP (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., September 19, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Tramp clearly bears no relation to his ’80s peers and his music is as far removed from the Mötley Crüe, Ratt and Poison as is humanly possible. His lyrics paint a vivid picture touching on family life, the perils of drug abuse and even the sinking of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in Little Fighter. It’s hard to imagine Britney Fox tackling such heavyweight subjects.

Not only does Tramp possess a voice that can carry a soaring melody and bring those lyrics to life but he has mastered the art of storytelling and between each song he told tales from the road in such a way that an alternate career as a stand-up comic beckons if he ever tires of music.

Tramp’s solo work has more in common with Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen than the Hair Metal of old and the uplifting Better Off, High Like A Mountain and More To Life Than This, which included a snippet of Thin Lizzy classic The Sun Goes Down, are the sound of an artist looking forward not back. Tramp’s evolution as a songwriter and performer have kept him relevant and musically vibrant and Nomad is just one more step on that journey and after a highly entertaining 2 hour show at The Cluny the crowd had been taken on one thrilling ride.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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