The Kentucky Headhunters / Bad Touch –
Corporation, Sheffield, Thursday October 5th, 2017
Set List: My Mother Told Me/Take Your Time/Outlaw/Under My Skin/Wise Water/I Belong/99%/The Mountain.
Momentous nights happen now and again and this is most definitely one of them. It featured one of the finest up and coming bands directly supporting some Deep South American Pedigrees. Those in question, Bad Touch have a real full-on retro way about them and play gutsy 70's styled Rock that mixes in elements of The Faces, Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin with touches of the Quireboys, Free, The Answer and much more.
Frontman, Stevie Westwood with his luscious thick, curly long locks and debonaire beard really puts an effort into looking the part on stage, placing his heart and soul into the passion-filled songs he gives a voice to while the rest of this solid outfit made up Rob Glendinning (Lead Guitar); Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seekings (Guitar / Vocals) Michael Bailey (Bass) and George Drewry (Drums / Vocals) who bang out musical brilliance in such a joyful, earthy and authentically, splendid way!
Back to how it used to be in days gone by – thank god the likes of these guys are keeping such sounds alive and spreading the sheer magic to a large handful of younger newcomers of the rock scene as well as us old geezers and gals out there.
They delivered a healthy handful of highlights during the set that included the slow bluesy 'Outlaw' ; the almost funk riffed opener 'My Mother Told Me'; 'Wise Water' with its slide to die for guitar work from Rob with that thumping drum work from George; not to mention killer riffery overall and of course the country blues rock of '99%'. They even throw in a bit of Led Zep for good measures too – okay a teaser snippet but it was there all the same!
Be sure to check these Norwich boys out when they come back in November for their first ever headline tour with Mollie Marriott – a fact they are overjoyed to let us know about.
A great set of guys who came out to hang with the fans straight after. A complete win-win – hands down right here in Steel City. Be sure to go and purchase their albums since this band are well and truly worth supporting!
Dixie Lullaby/?/Rag Top/Bones Farm Boogie/Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine (Bill Monroe)/God Loves A Rolling Stone/Stumblin'/The House Of The Rising Sun/Have You Ever Loved A Woman (Freddie King)/Wishin' Well/Walking With The Wolf/My Daddy Was A Milkman/Crossroads (Robert Johnson)/Drum Solo/Spirit In The Sky (Norman Greenbaum)/Dumas Walker/The Ballad Of Davy Crockett (The Wellingtons).
Now the headliners hail all the way from Edmonton, Kentucky, USA and I must say they magically picked us up and transported us mentally across the pond, down to the south and through the doors of a kickin' old bar that needed Boss Hog in the corner munching on some chicken. Yep a rootin', tootin time was had with the 'Headhunters who delivered some fun loving, party-filled tongue in cheek songs as well as material that was highly biographical in context. They sure got my buddy Tuesday Michelle Holland dancing throughout the night as well!
Vocalist and Guitarist, Richard Young gets very emotional and nearly bursts into tears while talking about recording their most recent album 'On Safari' (2016) due to his and Fred's Dad dying 3 days before they went into the studio. The whole room felt for him let me tell you as the feelings were shared with us. Another deep moment was when he told s about recording with the late Johnnie Johnson (Chuck Berry's original Piano player) on some classic blues songs for an album that was titled 'Meet Me In Bluesland', performing the classic 'Have You Ever Loved A Woman?' that was later made famous by Eric Clapton.
Funnily enough, talking of old slowhand, these Kentucky dudes had a cardboard cut-out of him on stage for comedy value and even cranked up a southern coookin' rendition of 'Crossroads' by Robert Johnson that of course Cream blew the late 60's away with. It went down a storm with many of us bopping and singing along to a well-loved standard that is now a milestone of all things classic rock!
Other covers also included the number that The Animals had the big hit with – yep 'The House Of the Rising Sun' and a mindblowing groover of a number that you can't help dancing and wailing along to – the Norman Greenbaum brilliance that is 'Spirit In The Sky'. I personally was looking forward to that sparkling, spanking psychedelic guitar solo and wasn't disappointed with what my ears received, thanks to leag guitarist and backing vocalist, Greg Martin. I liked the fact that they didn't stick to just having one lead singer with Bassist, Doug Phelps taking the vocals for a fair few songs too, giving wider dynamics and colour to the bands sound.
Also, that man at the back wearing the cap, glasses and owning the coolest sideburns ever, going by the name of Fred Young happened to be one of the best drummers I have ever witnessed – so solid and rhymic, owning the stage all by himself towards the end of the show and mesmerising us with the most impressive drum solos I have ever seen in my life – this dude was like Buddy Rich gone country meets Neil Peart on speed!
The gymnastic somersaults he was managing to do with his limbs on that kit were utterly unbelievable with some wild off-beat syncopated stuff that just about neared the impossible being created. I am sure he actually has four brains inside that head of his – one of each controlling each arm and leg. The section of the solo that blew my mind personally was the intrepid, rimshot work that for many would be completely inconceivable to achieve. To say Fred has been handed a gift from God would be a complete understatement – this truly was a special moment that we witnessed in here tonight. Even more so when the lighting is right as well and it was spot on.
Other song highlights in the set included the opening Dixie Lullaby' that sets the tone from the opening note; their take of the old school country sounds of Bill Monroe's 'Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine'; the rootin' tootin' 12 bar 'Dumas Walker'; the La Grange like 'Boones Farm Boogie'; the Bo Diddleyness of the Southern epic and humourously titled 'My Daddy Was A Milkman' or 'Walking With The Wolf' with killer slide from Mr. Martin.
The four of them were extremely thankful for our appreciation of the show and even throwing a few guitar picks into the crowd too and like Bad Touch, came out straight after the set to meet everyone. A real joyous and pleasurable night was had by all – like my buddy Steve Froggatt said “One of the best bands you haven't heard of!”.
Somehow, I can't see that being the case for long the way things are going here thanks to Black Stone Cherry (John Fred Young is Richard Young's Son and Nephew of Fred Young). In fact Chris and John of BSC were hounding the Richard for a while to play some shows in the UK and Europe and booked them in to play Sweden Rock last year as well as Rambling Man! The rest will soon be history!
Be sure to go see The Kentucky Headhunters if they hit your town with some good ole boy tunes coupled with some Blues 'n' Rock brilliance. Quite simply outstanding!
By Glenn Milligan