Guy Pratt keeps impressive company. As a session and touring bassist for nearly 40 years, his eclectic credits include Pink Floyd, Madonna and Michael Jackson. Flyers for his show, a sort of pick’n’mix memoir interspersed with live guitar riffs, eschew the usual press quotes for celebrity testimonials including Nick Cave, Michael Gove and Ian Rankin. He’s just back from a world tour with Dave Gilmour. It looks like a pretty fun life.
Keeping busy between stadium gigs, Pratt has spent a decade perfecting the art of the rock’n’roll anecdote for fringe festival crowds. The self-styled raconteur regales the adoring audience with tales of pyrotechnic effects gone wrong, recording studio tantrums and backstage antics.
It’s fairly soft stuff, and Pratt fares less well when he strays outside his wheelhouse. Attempts at observational material about Tripadvisor and the Trump family fall flat. There’s a vaguely chronological structure, beginning with his first teenage experiments in punk, but his personal biography is hardly what we’re here for. Technical issues with his amplifier cause a few delays, and the show ends abruptly when his allotted 55 minutes run out, offering nothing by way of conclusion.
Allowing for these minor grumbles, it’s hard to really complain. Pratt isn’t offering great comedy, insight or theatrical flair; and nobody in tonight's packed crowd gives a damn. All they want is some cool slap bass lines and to hear about the old days. Fair enough. At the end of the day, it’s only rock'n'roll—but they like it.