Erja Lyytinen - Gig Review
Posted by Hunter on Fri, 28 Oct 2011.
Erja Lyytinen: vocals, guitars
Davide Floreno: guitar
Roger Inniss: bass
Miri Miettinen: drum
Unless you are seriously into your blues guitarists you may have missed the musical talent that is Finland's, Erja Lyytinen. As a guitarist, I'm more then familiar with the likes of Joe Satriani, Jeff Healey, Mark Tremonti, Steve Senes, but as Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge said when we interviewed him "If you stay in your own genre you're limiting yourself", so it's always a joy when you discover for yourself someone like Erja. Hopefully Jennifer Batten, Michelle Meldrum and co have broken down any barriers or misconceptions about female guitarists, but if you are a musician, or enjoy listening to some real blues guitar work, you need to seriously consider going to see Erja.
While we're talking about misconceptions, it does come as something of a shock when you meet / see her for the first time, and then hear her perform. What you see is the small diminutive smiling figure of Erja, bubbling with energy, greeting everyone enthusiastically, shortly followed by some very slick guitar playing, and this powerful voice reminiscent of great black soul singers of the Motown era, filling Leicester's "Musician" venue.
Before Erja delivers a terrific show though, we are treated to a set by the quiet presence of David Bristow. It's a nice support slot, delivered in good humour, and he instantly scores points in the decent fellow category when he stays around to listen to Erja. There is this odd behaviour that I've seen of late where support acts do their slot and then head out straight away. Admittedly if you're doing a large tour and you just want to get to the next venue it's understandable, but when you're a local act, and it's purely a personal thing for me, but I see it as musical courtesy to support the band by sticking around and showing your appreciation.
After David's great perfomance the audience are sat around their candle lit tables waiting for Erja and her band, and I do have to make special mention of the band. Miri Miettinen is perhaps one of the most "efficient" drummers I've seen live. He looks incredibly calm, but then you look at the blur of drumsticks, and it just doesn't match! I get the impression that the whole world would be going to hell, but Miri would still look calm about it all. Bass player Roger Inniss just has this schoolboy grin, and looks to be enjoying everything, delivering some wonderfully tight bass lines, my only complaint? His bass guitar has six strings. This travesty must stop! What we don't want are bass players getting all creative because who knows where it will end! I think the rest of the band should sneakily remove two of those stings whilst he isn't looking, he won't notice. Actually he will, because he does use all of them. Seriously though, great bass player. Then we get to Erja's foil, Davide. Davide Floreno, "the other guitarist" is the perfect guitar partner for Erja, lovely flourishes and sound rhythm work.
At this point I have to now make a huge confession, for the whole set, whilst not taking photographs, my focus was transfixed on Erja's playing, it was, for want of a better term, hypnotic. Just watching those fingers flying across the frets, the slide work, was phenomenal. Incredible guitar playing. I think the highlight for me was the track "No Place Like Home". I worked in Helsinki for a short while, and I have to say, Finland is a stunning country, and as she was singing I remembered a train ride I took from Helsinki to Lappeenranta, a real personal poignant moment. I also enjoyed the cover of Tony Joe White's "Steamy Windows", another personal moment, as my late adopted father was a huge fan of Tony Joe White and would play his CD's at me incessantly. All in all, a terrific performance and well worth watching.
Erja's official website can be found here: http://www.erjalyytinen.com/