Getting on for 30 years ago, a band called Jason and the Scorchers started playing music that mixed country with punk, rock and blues. This was, lest we forget before bands like Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo came along and the Alt. Country genre became popular, they had a minor hit with their version of their version of the Hank Williams tune “
and still occasionally put out records to this day, but never really rose about
the level of a cult band.
Jason from Jason and the Scorchers, Mr Ringenberg, is opening tonight. He still looks the part of cowboy chic, with his hat and his rhinestones and he still sings quirky little country songs. “Lost Highway” gets an airing after a request from the audience (“I can’t believe this, I am gonna call my mother and tell her they requested my songs in
says.) But much of his set concerns itself with his anti racist beliefs with
one particularly interesting story about the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African
Americans who fought in the Second World War. Ringenberg’s set was good, but
you were longing for Warner E Hodges on electric guitar and tracks like “White
But the relaxed vibe continues when Ian Hunter takes to the stage. Tonight is an acoustic show for the former Mott The Hoople man too, joined by his producer Andy York (also John Mellencamp’s guitar player) and David Roe on double bass, Roe is a former cohort of Johnny Cash.
Hunter is sipping wine when he sits down, beginning with a laid back rendition of “Just The Way You Look Tonight” this is pertinent selection, given that it comes from his most recent CD, the quite brilliant “When I’m President” which by turns is biting, sardonic and yet still a warm piece of English rock.
This suits Hunter well, as for every love song there is a tale about Barry Manilow wanting to use “Ships” but his fans being “idiots” so not understanding it. This is juxtaposed by “Girl From The Office” a heart-warming tale of chivalry, which Hunter claims people on message boards don’t like because it’s too “pansy.”
The new album’s title track is an obvious highlight. A quite fabulous song in which the both “fat cats” and the apathy of politicians are lambasted, while there is a smattering of Mott The Hoople songs “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and “Roll Away The Stone” are rapturously received.
The audience has been seated throughout the show, but that changes. “Life” the closing track on “…President” which reflects on how rock n roll can divert you for a time, but life always goes on is followed by a singalong of “All The Young Dudes,” which given that Hunter is now 70 is perhaps slightly incongruous, but it is a fitting way to end a stellar very near two-hour show.
Acoustic shows don’t get too much better than this, who needs TV, when we got Ian Hunter. Or something very similar anyway.