Erja Lyytinen - LIVE: The Caves, Edinburgh 2017

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Stolen Hearts Tour
September 21 (20:30 - 21:50)
Capacity 650

Erja Lyytinen came to Edinburgh on the second night of her UK tour promoting her latest album Stolen Hearts, and proved that she he is not only without doubt an extremely talented guitarist, but also possesses a friendly personality which engages an audience immediately.

Her band are also first class musicians, with plenty of flexibility should they need to change direction or improvise during the gig. The first couple of tracks showed off Erja's slide guitar work, and in the second one, Harri Taittonen played some fantastic Hammond keyboards in his solo. There truly is nothing that sounds like a Hammond, it's a wonderful sound that can enhance anything especially when played by someone who has the great skill and feel of Taittonen. "Feel" is a word most applicable to all of the playing throughout the whole show, between music and vibe. Sometimes the songs are almost second to the playing, not to say there are not good songs in the set, but it is the guitar work especially that grabs the attention.

There are some particularly lovely moments like the way they incorporate some of George Gershwin's Summertime into Everything’s Fine, the solo and breakdown in Slowly Burning were beautiful, and then Hammond and guitar work on a tribute to the lady sometimes called "Queen of The Blues", Koko Taylor - the Leiber/Stoller song I'm A Woman - with at one point Erja making her guitar sing "what the fuck" three times during the Hammond solo, as it was that impressive. Then on an instrumental solo jam on slide, she went through a selection of guitarists and styles of delta blues to demonstrate the brilliance and variety in the genre.

The show was a nice mix between some longer tracks where the band could show off their skills and explore different moods, and the more straightforward tracks where there could be more crowd interaction with some communal singing and clapping on songs like the new album tracks Stolen Hearts and Rocking Chair. There were also some moments of humour along the way chat-wise, which is always good to see and hear as it gives more of an intimacy to the show. Whether it was her attempt at the Scottish accent, her reaction to someone shouting for a particular song, laughing and checking out the what appeared to be invisible set list, or remarking about what a song was not about (Slowly Burning is not about smoking she told everyone whilst laughing and suggesting of something other than cigarettes) she helped to make a friendly and good vibe to the night.

For anyone who loves the blues, excellent guitar playing (and quality musicians in general) with a sense of fun from an amiable front-woman, then without doubt a night with Erja and her band is highly recommended.

Setlist: City of Angels / Lover's Novel / Everything's Fine / Black Ocean / Slowly Burning / Stolen Hearts / I'm A Woman / Crosstown Traffic / Delta Blues Jam / Rocking Chair

Written by Tom Cornell
More: 2017, Blues, Gigs,

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