For those who enjoyed Aynsley Lister as he appears with BluesCaravan on the DVD BluesCaravan: The New Generation, recorded on December 7, 2005, this performance from a year before allows the guitar phenom to stretch inside the power trio unit to better display his prowess. Recorded at Harmonie in Bonn, Germany during the Rockpalast Crossroads Festival on March 23, 2004, the 84-minute concert features 13 songs all played with wild abandon. Lister begins the show with solo slide electric guitar and he's quite proficient putting a poppy spin on "Aeroplane Blues" while still showing his grasp of the blues format. Director Peter Sommer does an excellent job of keeping up with the singer by giving tons of quick cuts which make for exciting viewing. The edits not only bring the energy level up, they give a clear indication of the guitarist's talent by providing overviews and side shots, but still managing to focus on his hands when the performer dives into a variety of compelling riffs. He follows that epic with six-and-a-half minutes of an acoustic "As the Crow Flies," taming things for a brief moment. The band then joins Lister and they blast into a set of high energy music which straddles the fence between low-key Cream without the boom while bordering on Pat Travers' brand of blues-rock, though with a bit more of an edge.
"Snake" has Sarah Jones pounding away at the drums, though a bit more Ginger Baker is, perhaps, in order to put it over the top. A semi-ballad, "Angel 'O' Mine" -- from Lister's self-titled 1999 CD -- has lots of tension and cuts through as the best track. Very inviting, it will call you back for repeated spins. The cover of "Take Me to the River" has a "theme from "Peter Gunn" style" push that leans more towards Al Green doing rock than the Talking Heads. It also keeps this trio from being labeled pure blues. There's so much potential here, and when Aynsley Lister is a journeyman like so many before him, there's no doubt that potential will be realized. For now, this is a solid representation of a talented man with a better understanding than most of the sounds coming out of his amp. Rembert Stiewe has intriguing questions lined up for the singer/guitarist during the close to 18 minutes of interview footage and it is worth your time. There's also a three-minute clip of the band called "backstage film" which has the group arriving for soundcheck, riding go-carts, all to an instrumental ditty from Lister on acoustic guitar. Drummer Alex Thomas (who appeared on 2003's All or Nothing and 2007's Upside Down albums) makes a cameo in the film clip, but he's not on any of the performances on the DVD. One of the bonus features includes a five-and-a-half minute lo-fi rendition of Deep Purple's first hit, "Hush," an energetic version of the Joe South tune played in semi-Dickies up-tempo fashion from some place called The Flowerpot Derby in May of 2004. The trio sound more like the Lemonheads here than a blues band, drummer Sarah Jones and bassist James Townsend giving Blue Cheer's rhythm section a run for its money. [There's also a companion DVD of the same material on Ruf Music available separately.]