Chris Shiflett at the Water Rats
Performing songs from his new solo album West Coast Town, Chris Shiflett was phenomenal last night at the Water Rats. The well known Foo Fighters guitarist has shifted his style from rock to country and honky-tonk blues with this record, and with his brilliant acoustic guitar playing exuded true grassroots Americana.
Shiflett’s rapport with the enthusiastic audience in the small packed hall was natural, intimate and relaxed, as with panache and humour he chatted and joked, eliciting much laughter and clapping.
Opening with the Buck Owens classic I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, the talented star exhibited his western roots in a way that was individual and personal, while channelling traditional country music and a Bruce Springsteen vibe.
The Girl’s Already Gone reminded this reviewer of early Rolling Stones, and was followed by terrific acoustic licks in the rousing delta blues Goodnight Little Rock. The super bluegrass Blow Out the Candles evoked driving along rustic roads, and the quasi rock’n’roll, very danceable bonus track Mrs America preceded I’m Still Drunk, a more 90s alternative-sounding song from the new record.
Holding Things Together – by the musician’s inspiration Merle Haggard – was then performed, and Shiflett showcased some more incredible instrumental genius with one of his latest, energetic western genre numbers, Cherry. The fun and excellent Tonight’s Not Over and Still Better Days brought to mind a honky-tonk Tennessee venue, after which the artist coaxed Nashville great Sam Palladio on stage for a superb rendition of Waylon Jennings’s Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way. With incredible brilliance on acoustic, Shiflett concluded the show with title track West Coast Town and encored with a jovial rendition of Haggard’s Swinging Doors.
A remarkable talent, Chris Shiflett’s legendary reputation as the amazing Foo Fighters guitarist was well in evidence last night; combined with a country style that has its own charismatic flair, he proves that he’s also an extraordinary solo star.
Photo: Ralph Pour-Hashemi
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Watch the video for West Coast Town here: