The Outlaw Orchestra / The Karma Sonics / The Fargo Railroad Co. –
The Backroom @ Greystones, Sheffield, Saturday March 7th 2020
Well it's a good few years since I've been up here myself but we recently covered another great show here – anyway, I was really looking forward to this show, seeing the headline band and other guys playing too – not to mention a good ole chat with Mark Scott, the Promoter of tonight's gig.
The openers tonight, I had heard of previously were local band, Fargo Railroad Company since my Brother Paul saw them as guest band at a wedding he was filming. They come across like a Redneck deep south version of The Eagles with their happy, humourous dixie-tootin' songs that are piled high with crystal clear, hitting every note harmonies and marvellous melodics to match too on the instrumental side.
Tonight's set was purely acoustic for whatever reason featuring the two big bearded wonders on bass / acoustic guitar -with both sharing vocals, plus their other guitarist who guested towards the end of the set on an sweetly singing blues harp. There was some fun-time audience participation in a song about drinking by himself where we had to start off. The people in here appeared to be hardcore fans of the band since many knew every word of each song. I so want to see the full band in electric form one day.
I caught some of the next band up, The Karma Sonics who were fully electric with a few more of them onstage too – in fact, the whole unit. These guys were a full-on rock 'n' rollin' band who dig what they did. Sadly though when I had a look after hearing some pounding songs, they had a lot of guitar and tuning problems and took a while to sort out, causing folk to retire to the bar area in the main pub. A shame as would have enjoyed a full fault free set from them – next time....
Set List: Back To Georgia/See You In Hell/Ship Faced/Send Some Whiskey Home/Storytime/Willie Nelson/Jumping Jive/Chicken Fried Snake/Arabia/Laughing All The Way/Burn The House/Voodoo Queen/What You Say/Hangin' Tree/Take A Bow.
Encore: Hangman Jury (Aerosmith Cover)/Country High/Whiskey Drinking Liar.
The headliners themselves are such a humble, no-bullsh*t on the level set of guys who don't put themselves above anyone at all because we are all the people and all fans of great music, therefore they chatted, drank and socialised with everyone well before it was show-time which gives a real unity to the overall event.
There was such a full-on, happy positive ambience from the word go with their merch desk set up throughout that the band themselves were taking care of. A total cottage industry approach which is what the majority of the music industry has boiled down to in order for bands to continue to survive in this suffering hard-hitting day and age where many don't know where their next pay check is coming from.
From previous appearances, I knew we were in for a treat in tonight's proceedings after seeing them at 2 Sheffield festivals and another a county or two away. Some songs I had obviously heard a few times previous but on all occasions, The Outlaw Orchestra deliver them with plenty of extravagant humour and barnstorming musicianship making it a joy on every one of their outings such as the opening personal fave of mine that is 'Back To Georgia' that starts it off perfectly for what we are about to receive from hereon – and yes, we are truly thankful too!
Dave introduced new songs, telling us that an album will soon be available much to our pleasure. I am guess many songs like 'Ship Faced'; 'Chicken Fried Snake'; 'Willie Nelson' & 'Voodoo Queen' and many more that have proven to be live favourites over the past few months. Oh yeah, before I forget to say, this was a sold out show but what I really liked about it was the fact it was comfy to stand and we are not packed in like sardines with no space to talk of and all fighting for the same breath of oxygen.
Something else which made it better tonight was the fact that the chairs had been taken out the room making it like a proper rock show which it totally was. In the past the vibe was killed by installing chairs making it hard for personal manoeuvrability. This was the 1st time I had seen them on a headline show as well and I was as I say, mightily impressed.
Okay, they had cut down on their instruments no doubt because of travelling space and it was weird seeing a show of theirs without the hand-built tea-chest guitar which I always love to see. Pete Birley (the Paul McCartney of the band as Dave refers to him who can play anything) had also switched to a different electric banjo as opposed to his usual traditional one we have been used to seeing him play on previous outings.
Love Dave Roux's chat about having his cast signed that he joked was on his mantelpiece – which part of his body was the cast on....? ….more tea vicar? Hahahaha.... the amazing slidework of Pete Briley on the steel guitar which never fails to impress; the constant pummeling of that kit from the instantly re-energising Ryan Smith or the cool ass upright double bass plucking of Alex Barter. Truly great rootin' and a tootin' stuff during this gig that's perfect for any barn-dance you care to mention. There was plenty of boppin to the songs tonight as well as plenty of singing along too.
How was I to know that this would become the last show I would ever see live at a venue in person for quite a while due to the current lockdown we are part of in the United Kingdom backing this a historic happening for Metalliville and everyone there and who were onstage and part of the venue and night overall.
Let's hope we can rock again soon. Until then, stay safe and healthy till we can get out and enjoy another good show like we had from these guys, The Outlaw Orchestra.
By Glenn Milligan