Troy Redfern – ‘Invocation’ headline Tour – Retro Bar – 18/06/24

Photo by Alex English

Tonight is the second show of Troy Redfern’s eleven-date ‘Invocation’ Headline tour at Retro Bar in Manchester. It’s great to see a few familiar gig-goers out supporting Troy. Telling them I’ve never been to Retro bar before, I’m giving a bit of a history lesson; apparently, the bar was known back in the day as ‘The Swinging Sporran’ ‘pub’ frequented by bikers and it used to host a good old ‘rock night’ in the basement, which is where the live acts perform now.

The support bands are not touring with Troy but have been put on by the Retro and there are two very different bands, Kubrick Stare and VIP Suite, let’s hope they draw out a decent crowd on this wet miserable Tuesday evening.

Kubrick Stare is a relatively new band, formed in the NorthWest of England in 2021. The 5-piece takes to the stage and it’s a slow sludgy start, at first I thought they were a progressive doom band, who appeared a bit nervous but four songs in they sound bright and breezy with their alternative style. Melodic heavy riffs and bassy drums, give way to sunburst guitars and singer Libby seems more relaxed.

Closing their set with ‘Blind Eye’, Kubrick Stare have saved the best to last. Libby displays her vocal prowess, which ranges from post-punk/grunge to outright high-pitch! The progressive rhythmic percussion builds up nicely, as drum beats amplify their sound, and with a final ‘bang’ of the drum it’s the end of the set!

Photo by Ant Firmin

Libby – Vocals, Matthew – Lead guitar, Beaver – Rhythm guitar, Joe – Drums, Michael- Bass

More photos here by Ant Firmin-

After the set change-over it’s time for VIP Suite, I was going to say warm things up, but the venue is hot and steamy, and it’s filling up nicely with more folk arriving.

Vip Suite is a 4 piece rock band based in Middlesborough, who play high-energy rock and roll and are led by singer Paul Austin. Launching into their set, they take no prisoners on Marked Card, it’s full-on pub-style rock, think bands like Airbourne and you’re on the right track. Going Hell 4 Leather the aptly titled second song reminds me of ‘Guns and Roses’, with its pounding riffage and upsurge vox, Paul can certainly hit those notes with the greatest of ease!

Austin is a charismatic frontman, as he shares tales from his days in FireClown, an NWOBHM formed in 1979. More classic rock ensues with ‘Lookaway’, a song about giving your fellow man a helping hand, I notice an Elvis tone to Paul’s vocals, and you know what it works, there’s also some country twang in there too. The crowd are loving it, there’s a big cheer at the end and a ‘fuck yeah’ from Austin! Do you ever wish you had a ‘Spaceship’ ‘so you could get to places on time”? Spaceship is a blend of velvety rock n roll with some punky Elvis vocal undertones, it’s another smasher that gets a great crowd reaction.

Playing it for the first time, and released in January this year Mexcio is a crescendo of bluesy rock and roll and a tell-tale song of Paul’s days living in Mexcio as a young lad, it’s a kickass tune. VIP Suite loves a good jam, and they close their set with Human Jungle. VIP Suite have a new album coming out soon, keep an eye on their socials for more details!

Photo by Ant Firmin

More photos here by Ant Firmin –

Photo by Alex English

Troy Redfern

At last, the wait is over for this highly anticipated Headline Tour from phenomenal slide guitar virtuoso Troy Redfern. If you can, I highly recommend you get along to a show to see this maestro in action!

May 17th this year saw Troy Redfern release his latest studio album Invocation, which I reviewed for PlanetMosh here. Tonight we are treated to seven of the album’s songs, and it’s great to hear each one of them live.

Taking to the stage, Troy Redfern is joined by his touring musicians, Kira Kenworthy on bass and Nicky Waters on drums. Troy is wearing his trademark Gamber hat, faux leather kick boot flares and a customised tee, that looks like it has done the rounds, he is every bit a boho cowboy which reflects his musical personality, edgy and raw and distinguished at the same time!

The set opener All Night Long, is the first showcase of songs from Invocation. Hard and heavy Aerosmith riffage, explodes like dynamite on this, blues-infused rock and roller. Redfern’s gritty vocals fit the fast-paced vibrant beat ‘Of All Night Long’. Redfern’s playing is unrestrained, as we go tub-thumping into Getaway. Troy is a powerhouse of slide guitar and melding solos, with drummer, Nicky Waters keeping the pace and Kira’s badass bass licks keeping the groove. There’s a good vibe on stage between Troy, Kira and Nicky, the energy follows, as they vibe off each other from one song into the next.

The sweat is rolling down me; Retro is not a well-ventilated bar and we’ve 14 more fantastic songs to go. I did see three more listed on the setlist, but for whatever reason, Blind Me, The Stange and Heart & Soul didn’t get played.

Having followed Redfern’s musical journey since he appeared on my radar back in 2021 supporting ‘Robert Jon & The Wreck’. Troy has come a long way as he continues to define himself as an artist in his own right, going from ‘The Troy Redfern Band’ to simply ‘Troy Redfern’ when he released his previous albums, ‘ The Fire Cosmic’ and Wings of Salvation, where I saw him as the support act. I’ve been itching to see Redfern as the headline act to hear more than a handful of his songs live.

The album, Invocation for me is the best work to date, it’s filled with passion, which is what you get when you see Troy perform, he brings it to the stage, through his mastery of his slide guitar playing, accompanied by cool gruff vocals and hard-hitting riffage!

Stop! There’s a hush and a pause on stage, as the ritual beats of the Native, take form. Troy’s raspy vocals reverberate out over his audience, there’s a stillness, as the song builds and then dramatically dips in pace. Using his finger slide Redfern frantically goes hell for leather as he resonates with his audience through his guitar-manship. An impact that was well received, and ‘blown away’, is one way to describe this song live!

We get a treat tonight from the Fire Cosmic Album, Ghosts has not been played live before. The honky-tonk grassroots number is foot-tapper, the crowd are enjoying the ambience and is moving along to the rhythmic beat of Redfern’s slide guitar riffs, where he’s earned the monicker from the press ‘King of Slide Guitar’

Photo by Alex English

Troy has his trusty ‘Resonator’ guitar out for the bass-heavy for Voodoo Priestess on which Kira exhibits her bass prowess. Rocker-billy number, Sanctify closes tonight’s impressive set, it’s pounding bluesy rock, has the crowd rocking along, and smiling happy faces are the best to see.

You can still catch Troy Redfern on his remaining tour dates here, or keep checking his socials for further live performances:


Sunday 23 June – Boiler Room, Guildford
Monday 24 June – The Junction, Cambridge
Sunday 25 June – The Joiners, Southampton
Monday 26 June – New Cross Inn, London
Tuesday 27 June – The Forum, Tunbridge Wells

Setlist – *All Night Long, *Getaway, *Van Helsing, Take Me High, *The Fever, *The Calling, *Native, Ghosts, Sweet Carolina, Come on, Down, *Voodoo Priestess, Dark Religion, Scorpio, Waiting For Your Love, Scantify. *off Invocation

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By Alex English and By Ant Firmin

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