At Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., April 14, 2019

MIKE TRAMP (Live at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., April 14, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Rock has always gone through fads and phases. In the 80s it was spandex and hairspray as Hair Metal dominated MTV with songs of booze, fast cars and even faster women. As the 80s made way for the 90s it was all plaid shirts, cargo shorts and down tuned Grunge blowing the stack-heeled Glamsters into the “Where Are They Now?” file. On into the noughties, it was the singer-songwriters who dominated the airwaves and selling out shows.

Mike Tramp has lived through it all and come out of the other side in pretty good shape. With White Lion came the hair and the hits. For a while the stadiums were their oyster and tours with KISS, Motley Crue and Aerosmith made their eyes pop.

While many of his peers fell by the wayside, killed by Grunge, Tramp adapted with Freak Of Nature, an altogether heavier, more intense project before moving into a more mature, reflective singer songwriter territory which is where he resides today.

Tramp’s last ever show with the original White Lion lineup was back in 1991 at the Mayfair and it was to Newcastle, who Tramp raised a glass in thanks to the loyalty of his fanbase, who came in large numbers to hear Tramp reinterpret songs from across his career with just his voice and an acoustic guitar.

For two hours, Tramp ‘s warm and charming personality kept the crowd transfixed as he reworked White Lion classics Wait, Broken Heart and Lady Of The Valley, a dramatic, epic song on vinyl stripped back to its component parts and sounding magnificent in the process.

The heavy weight Grunge songs by Freak Of Nature, Candle and What Am I, reimagined in acoustic format took on a whole new feel as Tramps unique, melodic voice explored the stark melodies afresh.

In between songs, he regaled the crowd with tales of the road and stories behind the songs including explaining to his 10-year-old son that the old White Lion song, Hungry, was a story about an astronaut, in a bold attempt to avoid explaining the true meaning of the risqué lyrics.

Fortunately for Tramp, he did follow the advice of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and wrote lyrics that he could sing years later, as a more serious artist. When The Children Cry and Cry For Freedom cover issues such as war and apartheid while the more recent Bow and Obey delves into political control as Tramp’s passionate, heartfelt performance brought an intense meaning to every word.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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