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  GOD MAY LOVE A ROLLING STONE BUT GLASGOW LOVES THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS MORE
Kentucky Headhunters/Bad Touch/Swamp Born Assassins: O2 ABC2, Glasgow


johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: © John Miller 2017 with permission
11th October 2017


kentucky headhunters

This was my first venture into the world of the Kentucky Headhunters having heard so many good reports from their 2016 set at the Ramblin' Man Festival, so I was keen to see how the band shape up for myself.

With Norfolk based Bad Touch, who I'd not seen live for a couple of years, and my first sighting of the Glasgow based Swamp Born Assassins too, this had all the hallmarks of a great night – and I wasn't disappointed.

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First up were Swamp Born Assassins who walked onstage sharp at 7:15pm to a sizeable and dedicated audience.

The fact that synth-pop icon Gary Numan was playing the larger hall could have meant that some of the Glaswegian quintets potential audience were stuck outside in the queue but word obviously got around and their fan base turned up early for a professional and entertaining performance – these guys may be unsigned but that's no reflection of their professionalism.

Sure, there were a few mumblings after the set about dodgy vocals and the over-bearing drums but I think that's just a general moan to pick faults in the band because after the first couple of tracks the sound was pretty good for everyone.

Front man Charlie Moffat is an amiable chap who steered the band's fans (known as “Swampers”) through a quick but solid set. MetalTalk readers may be familiar with guitarist Andypaws Christie and bass player Allen Bell from Last Alibi, one of our new favourite bands here at MetalTalk Towers, and both put in sterling jobs once again.

kentucky headhunters

With no album to push, the band easily sailed through their back catalogue with 'Dead Man Walking' and 'Walk Tall' being the best of the night but the rapturous applause as they finished their set showed how much respect they command and they must surely be one of the hidden treasures of Glasgow's burgeoning unsigned scene.

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Swamp Born Assassins setlist:
Between The Eyes
Fading Before The Sun
The Wire
Let's Get Rocked
No Lies
Holy City
MassacreOut In The Rain
Never Ever Never
Crawl
Smell The Mud
Dead Man Walking
Clara Belle Lee
Walk Tall
The Gator Hole

Swamp Born Assassins are:
Charlie Moffat – Vocals
Andypaws Christie – Guitar
Davy Nimmo – Guitar
Allen Bell – Bass Guitar
Stevie Craven – Drums
Kirsty Moffat - Backing Vocals

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Next up were Norfolk's finest, Bad Touch, the main support to Kentucky Headhunters throughout their UK jaunt. Glasgow loves Bad Touch and Bad Touch loves Glasgow – this much is apparent before the band even strike up as the audience quite literally give them a hero's welcome.

On the last night of the Headhunters tour and on the verge of their long awaited first headline tour, these East Anglian rockers were tight, professional and enormous fun.

Powerhouse drummer George Drewry has to be the star of the show here, and even with no drum riser, leaving him partially hidden until he stood up in between songs, his presence was more than felt. He made the cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love' his own and you couldn't ask for a more capable percussionist.

kentucky headhunters

Of course front man Stevie Westwood is no shrinking violet either with his loud shirt and happy-chappy demeanour.

An excellent front man and accomplished vocalist he was very much in command of the audience laughing and joking with the front couple of rows while his vocal talents were laid out for all to see during 'Under My Skin' and 'Outlaw' which he accidentally introduced the wrong way round, he was so caught up in, well, just having fun.

“Do you want to hear some new stuff?” asked Stevie to a huge response before they played 'Take Me Away' and another new song, 'I Belong' as included later in the set which received an equally enthusiastic response so there seems to be lots to look forward to on their next release.

The band's most recent album, 'Truth Be Told' was plundered for a majority of their set list and despite “shitting themselves” as Stevie jokingly put it, about their upcoming headline tour, anyone with tickets needn't worry as this band are more than ready to take to the road under their own name.

Now, I'm off to check my diary to see if I'm free when they come back up to Glasgow. See you soon, boys!

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Bad Touch Setlist:
My Mother Told Me
Take Me Away Me
Under My Skin Me
Outlaw Me
Wise Water Me
I Belong Me
99% Me
Whole Lotta Love Me
The Mountain Me

Bad Touch are:
Stevie Westwood – Vocals
Rob Glendinning – Lead Guitar
Daniel Seekings – Guitar
Michael Bailey – Bass Guitar
George Drewry – Drums

kentucky headhunters

Glasgow, Scotland is a long way from Glasgow, Kentucky but I'll bet you a dollar that the Kentucky Headhunters felt right at home as they walked on stage to generous applause for a return visit to the venue they played last just over a year ago.

With the band's origins dating back to the late Sixties, these guys ain't no spring chickens for sure, but they do have a young and enthusiastic fan base ready to rock to their unique brand of Southern Rock.

The Kentuckian quartet's fan base is a strange one going from teenagers to more seasoned musos and from hard rock fans to those of a more liberal musical base but one thing is for certain – this band can pull a crowd!

The vocals are shared between guitarist Richard Young and bass player Doug Phelps, the latter of whom is a dead ringer for jovial Geordie chef and "hairy biker" Simon King, give the tracks a varied musical feel with Young's more pronounced southern drawl noticeable as he regales tales of Keith Richards, Chuck Berry and Jazz/Blues pianist Johnnie Johnson.

In fact, Richard's tales were so interesting that he was given time and space to tell these before being hurried along by Doug.

kentucky headhunters

Musically the band play a set of straight up Southern-based tunes with a couple of covers and a blues section in the middle but nothing's forced and nothing is hurried – in fact, this band would have played all night if they were allowed to and I doubt the audience would have minded.

A cover of The Animals 'House of the Rising Sun' was made their own as they added heavy blues guitar to it while a version of blues legend Freddie King's 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman' mixed well with original material like 'Wishing Well', 'Rag Top' and 'Dumas Walker' showed the band are more than capable of writing good quality material themselves.

kentucky headhunters

As it was the last night of the tour, Bad Touch, who had been lavish in their praise of the Headhunters earlier in the evening, joined the headliners for 'Hey Jude' as the evening drew to a close.

There are many reasons why the Headhunters haven't toured abroad more often and hopefully now they're seeing the benefits of travelling, and I'd be quite happy to travel to see the band if I get the chance to again.

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Kentucky Headhunters are:
Greg Martin – Guitar/Vocals
Richard Young – Lead Vocals/Guitar
Doug Phelps – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Fred Young – Drums/Vocals

kentucky headhunters

kentucky headhunters






 


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