A couple of weeks into their joint-headline tour across the UK and parts of Europe, The Warner E Hodges Band combined forces with their countrymen, Supersuckers, to provide a stellar night at The Patriot, Home Of Rock.
Supersuckers – The Warner E Hodges Band
The Patriot, Crumlin – 13 October 2023
Words and Photography: Paul Hutchings
With two full sets, this was an evening to remember, with an excellent turnout enjoying lavish sets from both bands. 80 minutes a piece saw both outfits deliver above and beyond, both in quality and quantity.
For all their history, Supersuckers are a band I had only briefly skirted around. Formed in 1988, the current line-up has been a solid trio since 2014, with founder member Edward “Eddie Spaghetti” Daley (bass/vocals) joined by “Metal” Marty Chandler on guitar and drummer Christopher “Chango” von Streicher.
With their origins back in Tuscon, Arizona, Supersuckers are unable to contain themselves to one genre. Instead, they spread their music across the rock spectrum, switching from Alternative to Country to Cowpunk.
They have a bombastic style that allows them to carve out their music with high levels of quality, ample power, and no little humour.
With their debut album, The Smoke of Hell, dating back to 1992, and another ten releases since then, the most recent being 2020s Play That Rock ‘n’ Roll, the trio have a veritable richness to draw from.
They admit that they make up some of the set on the hoof, so being unfamiliar with their songs meant listening intently to pick up on certain songs.
Regardless of familiarity with their music, Supersuckers are an imposing and impressive outfit. Confident to the point of arrogance, and with the swagger that comes from years of playing together, their set comprises over 20 songs, which included a new track and a couple from Metal Marty’s solo record, Metal Marty’s Greatest Hits. To be fair, they fit into the overall set with no difficulty. Workin’ My Ass Off and Goddamn Divorce leave no difficulty in terms of subject matter.
Eddie Spaghetti interacts with the crowd superbly, his cool image of shades, Stetson, shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots not diminishing from his drawling vocals delivery and focused low-end delivery. Metal Marty is no less engaged. His fluid lead and rhythm work is a joy to watch, whilst his grimaces and facial expressions raise many a smile.
They are joined onstage by Warner E Hodges towards the end of the set before finishing with a double whammy of Pretty Fucked Up and Born With A Tail. There are hardcore fans of the band standing alongside newcomers to Supersuckers. It doesn’t matter.
By the end of the set, everyone is engaged, and as they finish, one wonders why all 80 minutes can’t be as enjoyable.
The Warner E Hodges Band
“Who was at the castle show?” asks Warner E Hodges early in their set. A few hands, including mine, go up as the frontman regales us with a story about speaking to his daughter about the experience. Hodges and his band played part of the support bill to Cardinal Black, a mere six weeks or so ago. Tonight, he and his band get the chance to stretch, and they go for it from start to finish.
He’s one engaging frontman is Hodges. Smooth, in red cowboy boots complete with spurs and hat, he is flanked by the ever-moving Jason Knight, guitarist Ben Marsden, and now firmly ensconced behind the kit, Shane Dixon.
As with their counterparts before them, The Warner E Hodges band aren’t short on material or the quality to blast through a lengthy set which includes a couple of classic covers. They are tight, locked in completely, and provide a commanding performance.
That RnR opens the proceedings as we start our journey. As usual, we get treated to a couple of Jason and the Scorchers tracks in Money Talks and White Lies and the customary AC/DC cover that arrives in the shape of Riff Raff.
You want solos? We got solos. Marsden is a fine six-stringer and trades lead breaks with Hodges throughout the evening. It’s great fun, regardless of your knowledge of the band’s catalogue.
Towards the end, we get more singalongs, with John Denver’s Country Road and Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World, both unsurprisingly garnering the most participation.
In a set perfectly paced, Hodges and the band bring an opportunity to escape from the mundane. You can totally immerse yourself into the music and allow it to sweep real life away for a few hours.
It’s to both band’s credits that they can keep the crowd’s focus for the entire set. In fact, they could have played for longer and not many would have objected, such is the quality on offer.
The inevitable finale comes with further audience participation on the aforementioned Denver and Young songs, but they aren’t finished and cram in Right Back Where I Started and Back In Town to crown another fantastic evening of music at my favourite venue.