Adrian Belew Power Trio Explodes in SF

Adrian Belew’s Power Trio played a soul-singeing show at the Chapel in San Francisco on November 12

Adrian Belew’s Power Trio played a soul-singeing show at the Chapel in San Francisco on November 12. Belew brought an almost entirely different rig compared to his 2011 Crimson ProjeKCt tour (get that massive pedalboard info here), and played tunes spanning his entire illustrious career. He also mixed in snippets of new music provided by his promising new FLUX app. Belew’s insights on FLUX will appear in an upcoming issue of Guitar Player. The concert was predominantly about Belew’s wild techniques, insane tones, killer tunes, and effervescent stage presence that filled the Chapel to the rafters.

Belew brought a pair of his signature Parker Flys. He had them strung with sets of D’Addario EXL125 Nickel Wounds gauged .009-.046, but was looking forward to receiving more sets of D’Addario’s new break-resistant NYXL strings. He’s been experimenting with those and is excited about them. Belew played through a much smaller pedalboard than normal thanks to a Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx Ultra rack unit that tech Andre Cholmondeley claimed was responsible for “about ninety percent of the guitar tones—including overdrive sounds.” Belew controlled it via an FAMC Liquid Foot+ 12+. Belew used a pair of 50-watt Atomic Reactor Series ARFR-RW wedge-shaped amps in stereo placed directly behind him. He used a laptop running Ableton Live for copious looping.

Belew’s sonic ingenuity shone throughout a set list that ran the gamut of his solo and King Crimson career. Rabid Crimson heads understood that Robert Fripp’s new touring crew featuring guitarist/vocalist Jakko Jakszyk is focused on pre-Belew material, so they were extra-delighted to hear explosive renditions of “Dinosaur,” “Thela Hun Ginjeet,” “Three of a Perfect Pair,” and “Elephant Talk.” Bassist Julie Slick and drummer Tobias Ralph deftly and energetically delivered the underlying power in Belew’s trio. For the second encore, opener Saul Zonana expanded their sound playing second guitar and singing harmony on a supercharged version of the Zappa classic “City of Tiny Lights.”

Slideshow Photos by Jimmy Leslie