Tonight the North meets the South on Tyneside. I say this in jest, but for the Geordies, the aforementioned area equates to anywhere on the opposite side of the River Tyne. However, on this occasion, the region we are referring to is, in fact, the Southern States of the USA.
There has been a real renaissance in Southern Rock in recent times with a whole crop of new bands coming through the ranks and catalysing interest in this age-old genre. But at the same time legends such as Lynyrd Skynyrd are calling it a day and passing on the torch in an almost musical changing of the guard.
So when a triple bill of Southern Rock royalty descended upon Newcastle, the locals hot-footed their way to the O2 Academy faster than you could shout Freebird. With three iconic bands each performing a full hour-long set, the locals certainly get a lot of bang for their buck tonight.
As the old saying goes, the early bird catches the worm and that sentiment rings true tonight. With doors opening at 6 pm the Geordie punters who got in at the top of the evening were treated to a rare full set by Jason and the Scorchers.
And just like their name the Nashville based country punks certainly brought the heat. And it doesn’t take long for Jason to win over the crowd sporting a red shirt proudly bearing the logo of local outfit The Wildhearts. Early in the set, the four-piece perform a track which was co-written with Ginger himself by way of Golden Days. The aforementioned song along with When Angel’s Cry have such an infectious melody, they just sweep you away.
Another cause for celebration was the fact that versatile drummer Pontus Snibb is celebrating his Birthday. And Jason is full of praise for the man with the best seat in the house, regarding him as his favourite rock and roll and country drummer on planet earth. However, Pontus who also performs with Bonafide and Wreck of the Blues comes out from behind his kit to play the guitar on beautiful ballad Somewhere Within.
The Scorchers make their mark inside of the 60 minutes allotted to them, with hits such as White Lies, Broken Whiskey Glass and Mona Lee rounding out an impressive opening set leaving the stage to huge cheers from the local faithful.
Despite having been together for over 30 years the Kentucky Headhunters made their UK debut only a few years ago, but since then they’ve been making up for the lost time.
The group bring a more blues rock-orientated set to the proceedings with the inclusion of standards such as Freddie King’s Have You Ever Loved A Woman, along with several of their Johnny Johnson co-creations such as Stumblin and Walking With The Wolf both featuring.
These tracks sitting side by side classics such as Chitlin Time, Rag Top, Dumas Walker and the funky My Daddy Was A Milkman. But it was the Headhunter’s nod to local legends the Animals by way of House of the Rising Sun that won the Newcastle crowd over this evening. The Headhunters proved to be a hard act to follow.
Dan Baird and Homemade Sin top the bill, marking also a second set and a man of the match performance from guitar slinger Warner Hodges, whose skill, flair and showmanship were on point all night long.
Taking to the stage in his trademark top hat Baird carried the crowd through the likes of fan favourites such as I Love You Period, alongside Georgia Sattelite anthems such as Keep Your Hands To Yourself and Mon Cherie.
The beauty of a Home Made Sin show is that you never know what you are going to get. Even the band don’t know what they are going to play until it happens. There is no setlist or plan and in that respect, the group are flying without a safety net and are kept on their toes. But that’s part of the draw that keeps their fans coming back for more as each show is a unique experience.
The highlight of the night takes the shape of the epic Insurgent Country which is packed full of fiery solos from Hodges who flipped and spun his Les Paul whilst executing some blistering fretwork. Truly a spectacle to behold.
Tonight it feels like Dan Baird would play all night and even as we approach curfew the group are just settling into their stride. This evening’s musical marathon comes to its conclusion with Going Down The Road Feeling Bad.
To see three such legendary outfits share the stage together is a real honour. Throughout their history, the Kentucky Headhunters have never performed alongside their touring counterparts. Of all the places you would have expected this kind of bill to come together in the USA, but it was, in fact, their transatlantic cousins who came up with the idea. Based upon the response received this evening, it’s a good job they did.
Rockflesh Review, Jo Crosby, 10 September 2019 (they disabled copy, so we'll have to click to it)
A Truly Scorching Triple Header Live at The Empire, Shepherd’s Bush (click through for pics)
This was the London show on the current UK triple headline tour by three legendary live bands rotating who headlines, and the London show had Dan Baird and Homemade Sin in the top spot with The Kentucky Headhunters opening the evening. It’s great to have seen Dan Baird slowly build his live following from Homemade Sin shows in London with The Quireboys at The Borderline in 2008, to filling Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which is almost as good as headlining The Town & Country Club like his old band The Georgia Satellites did.
I have to admit to not knowing too much about The Kentucky Headhunters despite them having a history that goes back to the 60s, but what was clear from the opening Dixy Lullaby was that they are a supremely tight southern blues rock bar band of the highest order who looked like they were having an absolute ball playing for us.
Both Young Brothers, Fred and Richard were having a whale of a time on Chitlin’ Time, pulling some great faces to go with the playing, and Fred managed to keep his Davy Crockett hat on for most of the set. One of the real high spots for me was Rag Top – a great driving blues song. There was also a spot on version of Freddie King’s Have You Ever Loved A Woman that had a brilliant solo in it from Richard Young. The brilliant Dumas Walker was one of the real highlights of the set (and let’s face it we all like songs about marbles champions!). The biggest sing along however was for Davy Crockett who’s still king of the wild frontier.
I then got to finally see Jason And the Scorchers for a second time some 30 odd years since the last time and they didn’t disappoint as being one of the best cowpunk bands of all time. Jason Ringenburg has lost none of his flair as a great frontman and that was clear from the opening song Lost Highway, as he lurched over the stage and helped The Scorchers make this classic song their own.
Help There’s A Fire was urgent and had some fiery guitar from Warner E Hodges who was playing his first set of the night. Last Time Around seemed tinged with a small amount of regret balanced with the immense joy they all seemed to be having playing for us. Jason did his full-on preacher routine for Bible And A Gun, which sounded magnificent with drummer Pontus Snibb (who I’m more used to seeing fronting Bonafide) really locking horns with Al Collins’ super fluid bass playing. Of course, everyone sang along to Moonshine Guy still one of my favourite Scorchers songs.
My Kingdom For A Car seemed to flash by with some really cool guitar from Warner. Harvest Moon took things down a notch or two but sounded very poignant. They made Absolutely Sweet Marie their own and it was hard to keep your eyes off Jason and the moves he was making while singing and strumming his acoustic guitar.
Warner stepped up to the microphone to sing Better Than This while still playing some blistering guitar before Jason came back out for a real blast through Broken Whiskey Glass that had a few smashing glass noises from Pontus Snibb like his cymbals were made of glass. They closed with everyone singing along to White Lies that had some band intros in it so we could all give them the love they deserved. It was a truly great set that more than deserved an encore, but with each band playing an hour, no one had time for encores.
Dan Baird started his set solo with a very cool version of Another Chance before the rest of Homemade Sin joined him onstage. Warner E Hodges looked totally fresh and ready to rock. As ever, Dan’s old Georgia Satellites bandmate Mauro Magellan is on drums, with Sean Savacool taking up duties on bass (the band’s most interchangeable position, although it is his third UK tour with them so he’s now well established).
As the band fully kicked in for a no nonsense, almost non-stop set they all looked like they were well up for it. Younger Face sounded pretty joyous. Shake Till It’s Sore was played so quickly it was like they were racing each other through it or they had the shakes real bad. Dan gave one of his nods to Mauro, and after he played about the first 3 notes of Damn Thing To Be Done (as usual, playing without a setlist) the rest of the band joined in. The interplay and intuition in this band is a sight to see – they are so fluid and having so much fun doing it with Warner freely spinning his guitar over his shoulder.
All Over But The Crying played at this pace was more of a thank god than a song of regret’ – they were ready to move on and keep running through life looking for someone else to call Little Darlin’ and if they flash the smiles they had while playing it I’m sure her heart will melt. They just about paused for a couple of seconds before Keep Your Hands To Yourself got most of the crowd singing along to it, but not quite as loudly as they did on Mon Cheri as Dan and Warner tried to outdo each other on guitar. This was a much shorter set time than usual, and as they sang On My Way it was clear they didn’t like wasting anyone’s time.
They closed with a really long version of The Georgia Satellites classic Railroad Steel complete with heartfelt and light-hearted introductions and thanks as they blasted towards the venue’s curfew and the end of another great set. This was a great night’s music and a bill that fitted together perfectly!
Live Review by Simon Phillips with Photography by Trudi Knight of Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, Jason And The Scorchers, The Kentucky Headhunters live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 6th September 2019. Trudi actually photographed the whole tour for all of these bands and you can see more of her photography right here: https://www.bandsonstage.co.uk
Gig review: DAN BAIRD AND HOMEMADE SIN, JASON AND THE SCORCHERS, KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 6 September 2019 Posted on September 15, 2019 by andynathan
An impressive trio of southern inspired rock’n’roll and alt-country music legends will join forces this September for a tour of rollicking proportions.
Having never previously played on a bill together anywhere in the world, Jason and the Scorchers, Dan Baird and Homemade Sin and The Kentucky Headhunters are hitting the road for the very first time as a unique triple header, with each band playing a full set. Dates include London’s prestigious O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Newcastle’s O2 Academy, Manchester’s O2 Ritz and more. Tickets go on sale Friday 01 February at 10am from *ticketmaster.co.uk and all usual outlets.
Dan Baird, former chieftain of the high-spirited Georgia Satellites and frontman of Homemade Sin, is firmly back in the rock’n’roll saddle with his long-time pals, guitarist Warner E. Hodges and original Georgia Satellites drummer, Mauro Magellan. “We are bringing our version of the rock’n’roll circus to possibly the very best audience (UK) in the world this fall. Come see the show that none of us want to have to close. The gauntlet of rockin’ is guaranteed to be flying all night. You’ll get your moneys-worth” says Baird.
Hodges, the alt-country rock’n’roll veteran guitar force behind Jason and the Scorchers adds; “Fans should really be looking forward to this triple bill with Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, The Kentucky Headhunters, and Jason and the Scorchers. They’ll get one helluva kick-ass show for sure. Three bands, in rare form, trying to “one up” the next band. Should be a hootenanny of friendly competition. It’ll be a kinda Southern fried, family reunion for the bands! Let it rock y’all!” Warner E. Hodges.
Nashville’s Jason and the Scorchers boast a fearsome live reputation 30 years into their career, with every rock’n’roll record they make every bit as dynamic and mind-blowing as their vintage work. “As the British would say, I am “chuffed to bits” to be doing the UK tour with The Kentucky Headhunters and Dan Baird. I am a fan and a colleague of both acts. Golly what a dream line up. Wear your rocking shoes and your ear plugs!” Jason Ringenberg.
The Kentucky Headhunters have fond memories of Dan Baird and Homemade Sin and Jason and the Scorchers:
“In the early days of “The Heads”, we created our own live radio show called “The Chitlin’ Show” on the wonderful radio station in Munfordville, Kentucky” says Richard Young.
“WLOC radio with Joey Berry and co. played everything from Zeppelin to Hank Williams. Then, we would come on live for two hours every Tuesday night. Folks driving down the I-65 would dial in and hear these crazy guys live on the radio and all the great new underground bands, sometimes getting off the exit to find the station. It always wound up being like a backyard cookout! It was a time when the College Radio, Roots Americana scene was in its infant stage. This is where we were turned on to Dan, The Satellites and Jason and the Scorchers.”
“There is no doubt that, had it not been for these two pioneering acts helping to open doors, The Kentucky Headhunters would not have had the opportunity to finally start releasing albums after 20 years of struggling to do so. “The Heads” have always held these fine folks in high esteem for their personalities, as well as their music. Oddly enough, the three bands have never played together, and it’s finally happening, for the first time, in the UK! We already know in our gut, this is gonna be a tour that will be off the chain. so, watch out UK…here comes a 50 Gallon Barrel of Kick Ass!”
“Finally, we play together amigos. See you there.”
Jason and the Scorchers, Dan Baird and Homemade Sin & The Kentucky Headhunters UK Tour – September 2019
A unique triple-headline tour with each band playing a full set
Thursday 05 September Norwich, The Waterfront
Friday 06 September London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire*
Saturday 07 September Sheffield, O2 Academy at HRH, C.R.O.W.S*
(Dan Baird and Homemade Sin not appearing)
Sunday 08 September Bristol, O2 Academy*
Tuesday 10 September Wrexham, William Aston Hall
Thursday 12 September Newcastle, O2 Academy*
Friday 13 September Glasgow, The Garage
Saturday 14 September Manchester, O2 Ritz*