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.
Event Date: 12-Sept-2019