Following their debut UK tour last year, The Kentucky Headhunters get on a plane and cross the Atlantic once again.

Despite their fifty year history, The Kentucky Headhunters have only toured the UK once previously, as a result of Richard Young’s fear of flying. However, Young’s son/drummer, John Fred of Black Stone Cherry recently pushed the Headhunters to hit the road across Europe and with the help of Live Nation, the band set about planning their debut UK tour which took place during the summer of last year.

Such was the success of The Kentucky Headhunters first European jaunt the band has returned to the UK once again. Following the band’s appearance at last year’s SummerTyne Americana festival at the Sage Gateshead, they return to Tyneside for a packed out school night show at The Cluny in Newcastle.

Local blues trio Broken Levee open the show with a devastating six-song set, which features a combination of both covers like their incredible take on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” along with several original songs from their debut record Out Of The Storm. Broken Levee most certainly makes their mark in the short time allotted to them.

Norfolk boys Bad Touch make a welcome return to the Newcastle area having performed here recently with both King King at the Wylam Brewery and also with Broken Witt Rebels in this very room.

The band has developed somewhat of a strong relationship with The Kentucky Headhunters having toured with the band last year, Bad Touch has almost become their adopted European sons. As a sign of the close brotherhood between these two uber-talented outfits, the pair shares each other’s equipment this evening.

Again, with only a short set tonight due to the three band bill, Bad Touch doesn’t have too long to put their stamp on the proceedings. The band performs an incredibly strong set which largely revolves around their sophomore album Truth Be Told with five of their eight-song set taken from the record.

Taking to the stage, the band immediately launches into the hard rocking groove of “My Mother Told Me”, which along with the likes of “Outlaw” really sets the tone for the rest of the set.

Bad Touch takes the opportunity to showcase two brand new tracks in the shape of “Take Me Away” and “I Belong”, and on the strength of these two songs alone their next studio release, whichever shape that takes, looks set to be dynamite.

The band rounds out their short but sweet set with the anthemic “99%” and “The Mountain” with its epic, trippy old school groove.

Bad Touch well and truly wins over the Newcastle audience, and pick up many new fans in the process, which will most certainly put them in good stead for their forthcoming headline tour. The band’s return date at The Cluny on the 18th November will also feature special guest Mollie Marriott.

The Kentucky Headhunters are widely regarded as Southern Rock royalty. The US-based quartet is back in the UK in support of their latest record On Safari.

Having just heard the news that Black Stone Cherry’s new EP “Black To Blues” has entered the charts at Number 1, the band are in high spirits this evening. There are many BSC fans in the crowd tonight who are delighted to hear this news.

Back in 2015, The Kentucky Headhunters released their collaboration with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Johnnie Johnson on the album Meet Me In Bluesland. Very sadly, Johnson passed away in 2005. Throughout his career, Johnson performed alongside Chucky Berry and featured on many of his hit singles including both “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven”.

Subsequently, mid-set the band delves into their Number 1 blues collaboration with Johnson with the inclusion of tracks like the up-tempo “Stumblin’” and blues-rock numbers “Shufflin’ Back To Memphis” and “Walking With The Wolf.”

The band tips a nod to local legends The Animals during their rendition of “House of the Rising Sun”, which received a very warm response from the Geordie faithful. The Headhunters continue down the blues path with an incredible rendition of Freddie King’s “Have You Ever Loved A Woman.”

Of course, there is plenty of room for old favourites from the band’s 1989 Grammy Award Winning debut album Pickin’ On Nashville such as the incredibly infectious Bill Monroe’s “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine”, “Rag Top” and “My Daddy Was a Milkman”.

Drummer Fred Young, complete with his racoon hat, takes the spotlight whilst delivering a superb rhythmic drum solo before the band closes out the show with a cover of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” which they put their own unique southern rock twist to and their classic “Dumas Walker”.

With a career spanning almost 50 years The Kentucky Headhunters are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

If you missed Bad Touch this time around you can see them on their own headline tour with Mollie Marriott in November:


Sheffield, Corperation                  Thursday 9 November
Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre          Friday 10 November
Bristol, Tunnels                                Thursday 16 November

Manchester, Ruby Lounge           Friday 17 November
Newcastle, Cluny                            Saturday 18 November

Nottingham, Bodega                      Sunday 19 November

Glasgow, Stereo                              Thursday 23 November

Leeds, Brudenell                             Friday 24 November

Coventry, Empire                            Saturday 25 November

London, Islington Academy        Sunday 26 November

Norwich, Waterfront Studio       Friday 1 December
Southampton, Talking Heads     Saturday 2 December
Planet Rockstock                             Sunday 3 December

The Kentucky Headhunters
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Bad Touch
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Event Date: 10-Oct-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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