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Trafficker at Callows End Blues Festival 2015

Traff Hope tavern

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Trafficker. Tommy Allen is one mean guitarist, demonic drummer Damon Clarridge, is Muppet’s Animal, on speed, Emil
Engstrom brings some heavy, intoxicating funk to the bass line, this band rocks and proved great headliners for the day, closing with an outstanding ‘Voodoo Chile’.

Trafficker @ Ealing Blues Festival 2015

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On the main stage, Trafficker played a storming afternoon set. Tommy, who played with the Sugababes in the 90s, has a style which is utterly fluid and mesmerising.

Tommy Allen & Trafficker @ POW Ledbury 14/12/14

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We had to crowbar our way in to The Prince Of Wales, already crowded, as Tommy and his new band Trafficker were setting up. There was, as ever, a real buzz, boosted perhaps, near Christmas. Tommy was here without usual partner, Jonny Hewitt, as a duo, but he had alongside him, Damon Clarridge On drums and Emil Engstrom on bass. Whatever the configuration, Tommy was back to wake us all up, and drive us into the night, with blues-rock and no doubt, a bit of rock n’ roll. The addition of a full drum set, beaten into submission by an energy infused Damon, and the pulsating often funky bass of Emil, has released Tommy to concentrate on the sounds of his Strat, and it was an absolute joy to hear. A Tommy Allen song was aired a bit of hard rock blues, ‘Be The Best’, maybe that’s a message for the POW, undoubted contenders. ‘Better For The Blues’ took us to familiar territory, and a rich vein for Tommy, working up to some ‘Mean Old Walking Blues’, as Damon was set loose on the drums. Damon may look on the small side locked in behind his skins and hats, but he was having a great time, released from Tommy’s lead, emotions reflected in his face, a bloody good thrash, and joined by Emil on bass, before Tommy could close out. A brief check on a lovely looking Gresch, before sticking with the Fender for ‘Voodoo Child’, before we move back into Trafficker alley, with some songs only just formed, worked over and put to the test with this appreciative audience.

The first set closed with a rip roaring ‘Johnny B Goode’.

The super warm tone of the Gresch was put to good use opening the second set. As Tommy sang ‘Baby Your Mine All Mine’, by now, what little floor space there was, was filled with the gyrating bodies of the femme fans, you could loose an eye out there, as arms swept with abandon, hair lashing round. The boys jammed on, you have to experience any gig involving Tommy Allen, the music is going to be involving, raw edged and intoxicating, Trafficker is all that and more. The clock needless to say is advancing rapidly, Tommy breaks one of his new strings, the boys carry on into an extended funky mash. The crib team arrive, can’t get through the door, shock written over their faces, over their ‘space’, ‘Reet Petit’ blasts out, there was a ‘Whole Lot Of Shakin’ going on, the wind up medley of rock & roll classics, shook the Prince Of Wales; cards on the table? no chance. Tommy Allen’s Trafficker, had filled 3 glorious hours in style, for a pub crammed with music lovers. There were hints of things to come, with 3, as yet untitled songs, slotted in the mix, unfinished work, maybe, but it all sounded pretty damned good, a memorable evening. Now where did I leave my cards?

Words Graham Munn