Philip Sayce and Troy Redfern at Band on the Wall, Manchester, Monday, 20th November 2023

Brash, powerful and unapologetic, Philip Sayce commanded the stage from the moment he walked upon it

Review by Helen May / Photos (C) Haluk Gurer

Celebrated guitarist Philip Sayce returned to the UK, accompanied by slide guitarist Troy Redfern. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Sayce is the protege of guitar legend Jeff Healey and GRAMMY and Academy Award-winning superstar Melissa Etheridge. Born in Wales, raised in Toronto, Canada, and now an American citizen, Philip’s love of the guitar started at a young age when his parents introduced him to the greats early on — notably, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, Jeff Healey, and Jeff Beck.

The touring band consisted of Philip Sayce (vocals, guitar), Sam Bolle (bass), and Bryan Head (drums). Opening the night though, the man ho oozes cool through his look and music, Troy Redfern. 

Troy Redfern

With his low-slung guitar, black hat and chains, Troy Redfern walked on to the stage at Band on the Wall to deliver a masterful and confident performance. It was incredible to see a solo guitar player achieve such a big sound. If bone-shaking slide-guitar is your predilection, Redfern delivers. He started his set with ‘Waiting for your love’ – it’s a mean, dark and dirty modern Delta blues cannon ball that knocked the crowd over. In all 8 tracks that Redfern played he never lost one bit of his boundless energy and swagger. Razor-sharp slide characterised his performance. A hard-handed player – he admitted during one of several guitar changes that his 935 Dobro ‘wasn’t built for the abuse’ he gives it. He went on to play the track ‘Get Away’ – a song filled with hard-edged slide rock guitar before launching into ‘Dark Religion’ – an evocative spooky piece; The Native which is a track due for release next year; Come On and Sweet Carolina, from The Wings of Salvation album; and Sanctify – a high-volume, high-energy blues track. Refreshing and entertaining with a gunslinger image makes Redfern unforgettable. His set perfectly complimented Sayce. High-octane Redfern is quickly achieving recognition for his no holds barred, unique style of amped-up Delta blues.  

Troy Redfern is currently riding high with his new single “Getaway” with almost 100,000 views on YouTube.  His new album “Invocation” is out June 7th

Philip Sayce

Brash, powerful and unapologetic, Philip Sayce commanded the stage from the moment he walked upon it. The crowd was already with him before he played a single note. They’d been waiting to see a guitar Jedi and he didn’t disappoint. 

There is no doubt in my mind that Sayce is a guitar player’s guitar player. The styles he covers and the way he can bend a note and make it sing was effortless.

It was obvious from the sheer delight in people’s faces that they were in the presence of musical majesty and the joy in the room was palpable. They’d come to watch and learn in the hope that some of his guitar magic might stay with them beyond his one-and-half hour set. His first track of the night was ‘Out of my mind’ with some ridiculously marvelous guitar shredding.
Sayce’s sound was fresh, raw and loud with echoes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and reminiscent of the pioneering electric guitar heroes of the 60s and 70s.

Despite it being a rainy Monday night in Manchester, Band on the Wall was filled with eager converts to the Sayce sound. Sayce’s ability was showcased more than ably by Sam Bolle (bass) and Bryan Head (drums) who are musical masters in their own right. Bolle, known for his work with Agent Orange and legendary surf-guitar player Dick Dale, and Head, who has played for dozens of big names, including Foreigner and Susan Tedeschi. They seemed to have an almost telepathic sense of timing which meant they were never out of step with Sayce and supported the ebbs and flows of his tonality throughout.

Welsh-born Sayce, who was raised in Toronto, Canada, before moving to the US, now hailing in California, is a protégé of guitar legend Jeff Healey and toured with Grammy Academy award winning superstar Melissa Etheridge.

Sayce’s love of the guitar was said to have started at a young age, listening to Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins, Jeff Healey and Jeff Beck. It was apparent that he’s absorbed their lessons and technique and melded it into his own style and personality.

The funky ‘Love is a powerful thing’ was a showcase for Sayce’s soulful vocal. Meanwhile ‘Bitter Monday’ got the room bouncing with tribal drums and Sayce encouraging the audience to clap along as he sang out the lyrics. He rolled out guitar riffs as eyes fixed on him were mesmerised by the sheer speed of his playing – so fast that the silver rings wrapped around his fingers became a stream of bright light across six strings. Sayce showed his deeper, softer side when he dedicated two tracks to his late dad ‘Once’ and ‘5 55’ and one to his wife, called ‘Beautiful’.

5 55’, for me, was the standout track of the evening. It was truly amazing with silence filling the room as he subtly painted gorgeous soundscapes with his cherished 1963 Fender Stratocaster.
During his set, we also saw Sayce’s cheeky side. As listeners wended their way on his musical journey, he unexpectedly, mid-track, made space for a little burst of the classical piece ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ by Grieg from Peer Gynt before a wry smile and a return to some serious guitar business.

Sayce gave a blistering performance which was as hot as the Californian sun he’d left to embark on his UK tour. He said Glasgow, Leeds and London were to follow. Sayce told his fans the UK tour was beyond what he had dreamed. Anyone who had discovered Sayce on Spotify and joined his ever-growing listening figures, walked away from a live experience like no other. Energy, technique, ability, funk, soul, rock – Sayce has it all and takes you to a place where just for a moment you get to live in his world.

Philip Sayce will release his new album “The Wolves Are Coming” on February 23rd.  

Watch the music video the single “Oh! That Bitches Brew” 

 

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