Some of the finest musicians to come out of Atlanta, Georgia join forces and take the road across the UK.
Tonight The Cluny in Newcastle is packed to the proverbial rafters with music fans who are here to feast their ears and eyes upon an impressive triple bill of southern inspired rock and alt-country music.
68-75 kick off the proceedings and make a welcome return to the North East of England, which has almost become their adopted home away from home, with many of their fans present here this evening. The band made their debut in the region last year with two sold-out shows at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club, which formed the basis for their first concert album Live in the UK!
The band released their sophomore studio album Consequences earlier this month and several numbers off the record are featured in the set this evening. These include set opener “Eye On You”, the incredible “Our Drunk History” which is packed full of with infectious hooks and the ever so funky “My Way Out”.
Lead vocalist Suzanne Sledge’s powerful vocal range perfectly complements Andrew Cylar’s vintage guitar riffs, and the powerful groove delivered by the rhythm section of Hal Mahan and drummer John Powney. The latter of which is the only none-U.S. based member of the group, and has also toured previously as the drummer for Homemade Sin’s Warner Hodges.
With a shorter set this evening the band’s set largely focuses around their latest offering although there is room for a couple of tracks from 68-75’s debut record Stay On The Ride towards the end of their set. These include the spellbinding number “Detroit” before closing out their set with the hard rocking “Camel’s Back”.
Warner Hodges, who performs with two of the artists featured this evening, makes his first appearance of the night with Drivin’ and Cryin’. Hodges, who is also known for being the lead guitarist in alt-country act Jason and the Scorchers has such skill and flair in abundance. With the blink of an eye, he effortlessly flips his Gibson Les Paul behind his back and catches it without dropping a single note.
Drivin’ and Cryin’s set includes the likes of the hard rocking “Detroit City”, the country-tinged number “Straight To Hell” which results in a mass singalong and “Jesus Christ”. The band leave the crowd more than warmed up for Baird and company.
Dan Baird and Homemade Sin takes to the stage and delivers a career spanning set which covers all of the bases. The band features two ex-members of The Georgia Satellites with both Dan Baird and powerhouse drummer Mauro Magellan. Of course, there is plenty of room for many of their greatest hits throughout the show.
There are some great twin part harmonies and guitar interplay between Baird and Hodges during “Little Queenie”. “I Dunno” sets the pace for the show with its frantic rhythm and features some superb playing from Hodges, who lights up the stage all night long. Obviously, the Satellite’s biggest hit “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” sets fire to the blue touch paper in the room, and a massive singalong ensues.
Mid-tempo jam numbers like the epic “Crooked Smile” from Dan Baird’s 2008 self-titled album and “Silver Little Lies” from his more recent Get Loud record really stand out in the set alongside fan favourites like “I Love You Period”. As Baird races towards the venue’s curfew, the show is brought to a close with a couple of Georgia Satellites numbers in the shape of “Six Years Gone” and “The Myth of Love”.
One thing which is apparent with both Drivin and Cryin and Homemade Sin is that it’s all about the music, with very little onstage banter, their concern is about playing as much music as possible. There is not a setlist in sight, and with each set, the band leader reads the audience, calls the song and the rest of the band follows.
With each act there is no safety net, it’s no holds barred and each member of the band needs to know every song in their arsenal. They watch each other and play off each other, and often a song ending comes together perfectly on stage, unrehearsed and for the first time. These are musicians of the highest calibre.
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