Haven't seen them live but did catch them on the Leno show a couple of weeks ago. They played "Hey Joe". From what I saw they sounded really good. I was impressed with the guy (can't remember his name) playing the steel guitar.
How was it live?
The guitar playing was incredible live. Kenny Wayne Shepard did a Voodoo Chile thing for about 30 minutes that included Voodoo Chile Slight Return.. that was the highlight of the show for me. The guy on steel guitar was Robert Randolph, and he was a excellent performer and addition to the lineup. Other people that performed, for those interested: Eric Johnson, Taj Mahal, Jonny Lang, Billy Cox, Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo(Los Lobos), Dweezil Zappa, Brad Whitford(Aerosmith), Boosty Collins, Eric Gales, and the drummer for the whole crowd: Chris Layton from Double Trouble with SRV.
As I said before, the guitar playing was incredible. Eric Johnson is a magician with 6 strings, and Kenny Wayne Shepard did the best Voodoo Chile impression I've ever heard, which is quite impressive. Chris Layton, the drummer, was really depressing though, and didn't enjoy his playing that night. Disclaimer: I've met Chris, my father-in-law was college roommates with him at UT, and he came to my wedding, he a great guy and I like him, and he was perfect for Double Trouble. He has great tone, and plays very relaxed and makes rock drumming look effortless.
That said, he did an awful Mitch Mitchell. I know Mitch is hard to to replicate, but what Chris played was really sad and boring, and I was bored listening to it. If you've seen Stanton Moore's Modern Approach to New Orleans drumming, Stanton demonstrates the groove to Little Miss Lover to emphasize the importance of nuances in drumming. He demonstrates a "good" and a "bad" way to play the groove, including and excluding the nuances respectively. Well, Chris Layton played that groove as close as you can get to the "bad" way of playing it without being blatant. And that summed up the whole night for me. He was like a Dr. Beat that had Mitch Mitchell grooves programmed in. Frankly it was ridiculous at times.
I don't mean to hate and discriminate against a certain style of drumming or another. It was apparent that Chris Layton's time was rock solid and he displayed excellent maturity in his played when faced with improvised endings and "mistakes". I just don't know how you can have the honor of being a part of a Hendrix tribute band with some of the greatest living guitar players of all time and play like you don't give a crap. He literally played the same groove for 15 minutes during all the Little Miss Strange solos, no comping or anything. He traded 4's with the bass player during Voodoo Chile, but other than that it was solid 12/8 blues for thirty minutes; no accents or comping or anything.
I understand that he is there to simply back up the guitar players, because they were there literally to honor a guitar player. But regardless, I would have thought for the sake of the music, I should take some risks and give these guys something more, so hopefully we can all play over our heads, have some fun, and give the crowd an incredible show. I know I wouldn't want to play the same groove for half an hour behind some blazing guitar player. I would want to back him up, stretch the envelope. Not so much as to diminish the original song, but enough to honor the power trio the was the Hendrix Experience. I don't doubt for a second that Chris Layton was influenced by Mitch Mitchell, but it sure wasn't apparent from his performance.
I kept thinking during the performance 1) I should be playing drums, haha, but seriously 2) Stanton Moore or Steve Jordan would have been perfect for this project. They both have groove oozing from every pore of their and they put on a great show. Chris did the opposite of that most of the time. They would both do great justice to the original music and to the music they make on stage. I suppose that Chris Layton is a classic rock veteran and icon so he was an obvious choice. Plus he probably isn't busy, or as busy as Stanton Moore or Steve Jordan... and probably cheaper.
Anyway, this may seem like the ramblings of a psychopath, but I need some drummer to talk about this with, because talking to my father-in-law who said, "Chris Layton is the best rock/blues drummer of our generation", wasn't going to settled my mind. What do you guys think?