The Supersuckers provide a masterclass in songcraft and entertainment in York

The Supersuckers are an American rock band formed in 1988, whose music ranges from alternative rock to country rock to cowpunk. The Supersuckers, who have been described as “the bastard sons of Foghat, AC/DC, and ZZ Top,” were joined by The Hip Priests and Segrëgates in York and Alex Eruptor was there for MetalTalk.

The Supersuckers + The Hip Priests + Segrëgates

The Crescent, York. 21 March 2022

Words: Alex Eruptor

Advertised as doors opening at 7.30 pm for an 8.00 pm start, I arrived at 7.40 pm only to find the opening band, Segrëgates, already partway through their set. As such, there were only thirty or so other people in the audience at that point, but by the end of their set, that had tripled.

The Segrëgates. The Crescent, York. 21 March 2022
Segrëgates.

A three-piece, with bass player also handling lead vocals, playing catchy punk rock with an obvious Motörhead influence, Segrëgates are a great opening band for this. Yes, you’ve probably heard it before, but they do it well. Worth arriving early for, I just wished that the times advertised on the ticket had been more accurate, and I’d have got there a few minutes earlier. Catchy ’77 punk with overt Motörhead influence, recommended.

The Hip Priests. The Crescent, York. 21 March 2022
The Hip Priests. Photo: The Hip Priests, Facebook.

Next up were the main support band, The Hip Priests, who seem to be doing the whole tour or at least the British dates. This Nottingham based band have been building up a cult following since the late 2000s, and there were several fans already wearing their t-shirts and patches, obviously there to see them.

The whole set is played like their lives depend on it, a blizzard of energy, attitude, sleaze, sneers and guitar solos, with thumping bass and pounding drums. Chords are thrashed and instruments punished. There is something familiar about it all. They are almost a tribute to the action rock or punk n’ roll genres, with clear references to Turbonregro, Hellacopters, Gluecifer and Electric Frankenstein.

That’s also why they’re perfect for this type of tour. They tick all boxes for this exact crowd whilst cementing the reputation of the bands that came before them as influential.

Tonight’s headline act Supersuckers recently did a split single with The Hip Priests in addition to taking them out on this tour. That is a great endorsement and well deserved, so are they the future of punk n’ roll?

Quite possibly, although I can’t help thinking that in order to headline their own tours of this stature, The Hip Priests will need another couple of great songs and offer more originality in terms of melody and groove. They probably don’t care what I think, though, as their band philosophy and the title to one of the standout songs played tonight is Zero Fucks Given and to be honest, I wouldn’t want that to change.

The Supersuckers

Tonight’s headliners, The Supersuckers took confidently to the stage as their intro tape, Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption, built up the momentum. From the get-go, they are on top of it, with ‘Metal’ Marty Chandler thrusting his guitar like a weapon over the heads of the audience front-row, alternating between slick lead licks, riffs and tricks, solid power chords work, and backing vocals.

The man is a whirlwind of energy and plays with flair as well as precision. Drummer ‘Captain’ Chris Von Streicher plays some inventive beats and fills. He knows when to let it groove and when to let it rock, playing to the songs and is a great pulse for Marty and frontman Eddie Spaghetti to play off. Three big personalities that project from the stage and probably could smash through the wall at the back of the venue if they wanted to.

Eddie has been Supersuckers’ anchor since the 1980s and is a great songwriter. And that’s what is standout about Supersuckers, they have a catalogue of songs amongst the best in the world within this punk n’ roll category, and they are great musicians too. Sure they’ve got the power and the aggression, but they can channel it into one of the coolest songs ever, The Evil Powers Of Rock n’ Roll, which they play about four or five songs into an already blistering set.

They also play a bunch of newer stuff that sounds good and is well received by the audience, as Spaghetti announces at one point, “we’ve never made a bad album. There is something good on all of them”. It’s, of course, a fact that he makes a lot of bold claims, but like this one, they’re mostly also true.

Around the middle of the set, I walked around and what I observed was that throughout the room, the audience was all loving it. That’s the thing, just when you think they’re maybe about to start repeating themselves, such as a series of “rock n ‘roll songs just about rock n’ roll”, Supersuckers are still damn good at what they do and know how to keep the party going.

Then, when they bring out the big guns, they are untouchable. Marty takes over lead vocals for Dead, Jail or Rock n’ Roll, and after that, it’s a home run of some of their best material: the classic Pretty Fucked Up, their tremendous cover of Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song, and the ultimate in fire n’ brimstone cowpunk n’ roll, Born With a Tail.

A perfect way to end the night. As usual, they don’t come back for an encore because those were the encores. They ain’t wasting our time or their own by leaving the stage just to come back on again because that time is simply better used for playing more music.

In conclusion, Supersuckers provide a masterclass in songcraft and in entertainment.

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