By DICK RICHMOND
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
The music of the English rock band Traffic is like a stampede. There is a lot of running and not much direction.
The band appeared in concert at Kiel Auditorium last night before a crowd of about 9000. And most of the audience seemed to he jammed in front of the stage.
Traffic works hard and the crowd liked what it heard. Why, it is difficult to say. There was little to differentiate the tunes, most of the words of the songs were covered up with music and every one of the seven band members appeared to be blasting, beating and blaring away at the same time. But the group is noted for its percussion and there was plenty of that.
In contrast, the warm-up acts played some pretty interesting music. Singer-guitarist John Martyn, a Scot, opened the show and occupied the stage by himself for the first 30 minutes.
There is no way in the world to distinguish the lyrics of his songs because he's a mumbler. He seems to use his voice more as another musical instrument than as a word producer and it complements his guitar beautifully.
His guitar is a thing to he heard. The fingers of his left hand pluck at the strings on the neck of the guitar as fast as those of his right. The sound he produces is remarkable.
Sandwiched between Martyn and Traffic was another English rock group called Free. That band could have occupied the stage a lot longer than it did. It played some soulful tunes that sounded Middle Eastern, a number that could have been Arab martial music with a rock beat, and a song that was strictly American boogie - from a British point of view.
This review was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of Thursday 1 February 1973.