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SAYCE 100 Club, London 13 May 2010
might be regarded as the latest guitar player from the conveyor belt of
fretmelters with suitable battered axes, were it not for the outer
worldly sounds that he manages to conjure from his trusty Strat.
Joe Satriani, Philip deals in the ethereal, the startling and the
unexpected and in between bursts of incredible technique he also touches
on the emotive.
Philip there is no discernible distinction between the cerebral and the
instinctive and once he launches into a solo everything else is on hold.
Put simply, Philip Sayce lives to play as much as he plays to live.
there's one reservation about this exceptional guitar mangler it is that
much like the electric/acoustic wizard Monte Montgomery, he too readily
subscribes to the theory of tone achievement through excess volume and
to that end he cranked things up to the max.
resulting avalanche of sound at time bordered on the uncomfortable and
also made it difficult to decipher his vocals, but his guitar playing
was so impressive that on balance he came out on top.
Fronting a powerhouse trio with the rock solid Joel Gottschalk on bass,
PS filled every corner of the room with his flamboyant guitar playing
born of big tones and scintillating runs.
Philip is a
very corporeal style of player who literally launches himself into some
spiralling solos, working up relentless energy levels while darting
across the stage and pausing only to occasionally tune his guitar and
reflect on some of the quiet audiences on the tour so far.
briefest of intro's he quickly worked up a boxer's sweat and brutally
assaulted his audience with an array of fluid solos, lightning riffs and
volleys of notes.
about covered the whole rock spectrum from bone crunching, richly
defined deep tones to shrill stratospheric runs that occasionally
brought him fleetingly the edge of the stage to tease out every last
drop of intensity from his solo.
On the aptly
titled 'Changes' from the new 'Innerevolution' CD, he cleverly expressed
the 'fundamental changes' in his life through some edgy, incendiary
playing punctuated by occasional eye contact with a person in the crowd.
Like a bird of prey he glanced, pounced and took off in another
direction with a searing solo.
Decibel levels aside, his guitar playing is not so much an Albert
Collins style 'conversation with the blues' as an outpouring of raw gut
emotion on cat gut strings (well maybe nylon!)
was in the building in spirit, as Philip made glorious use of sustain
and dynamics to deliver his own unique style of piledriving rock-blues.
And as if to
counter balance what had gone before, he showed a more delicate side of
his playing on the well judged instrumental 'Alchemy' from Peace
Machine'), teasing every nuance of tone modulation with the deftest of
But for the
most part the ghost of Hendrix and his contemporary disciple Robin
Trower were never far from the surface. And while the ever present wall
of sound made it just that bit more difficult for Philip's vocals to cut
through on the catchy 'Bitter Monday', the song was just about rescued
by a strong chorus.
But with his disciples at the front of the stage Philip was in his
element applying broader tonal brush strokes and digging ever deeper for
more intense layers of solos. And when he occasionally took a step back
to once again make contact with his crowd, it was as if to make sure
they all appreciated what had gone before.
some of them thought it was the second coming while others couldn't
quite handle the volume wells. Either way cutting a swathe between the
two camps, we had just witnessed an emotional outpouring on a Fender
guitar that went along way to explaining the state of his battered axe.
by Pete Feenstra
Album review and video interview
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