The British South Is On The Rise!
Southern rock, UK style, comes to London. Classic Rock raises a glass or three at the Southern Evening, recently staged at London’s 100 Club.
Words: Xavier Russell
Southern rock, like hard rock and heavy metal, has always maintained its popularity. Bands such as The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Doc Hollliday and .38 Special are as popular today as they were back in the 70s and 80s.
And it’s not just in America; southern rock has always been very popular in Europe. In Germany there’s Molly Hatchet clones Lizard, who are still going strong! Back in the 1980s, England to could raise its own Confederate flag with acts such as Northumbria’s Splitcrow, whose album Rockstorm on the Guardian label (1984) caused quite a stir. And then there was Manchester’s very own Christian southern rockers 100% Proof, whose 1983 album The Power And The Glory was a mighty fine slice of .38 Special with a Christian twist!
And here we are in 2010 and the Confederate flag is still flying high with a Southern Evening at London’s 100 Club, featuring three very different bands, yet all with a southern tinge!
Opening up were the Snakeoil Rattlers (www.myspace.com/snakeoilrattlers), whose witty boast that ‘where the swamp meets the road you will always find the Snake Oil Rattlers’ could only mean a sorta cajun/bluegrass sound. The Rattlers have been knocking around since 2004, playing around The Swamps of London Town, and have built up a dedicated following judging by the cheering as the band launched into Road Tales, full of delightful chicken-scratch guitars, courtesy of Messrs. Barry Warren and Ryan Carr.
Elsewhere, Slow Train To Georgia and Nothin’ To Confess showed just what a tight unit the Rattlers are, and was that Made In The Shade, the ol’ Skynyrd classic? Hell, yeah. I will be checking this lot out again.
Next were Elias T. Hoth (www.eliasthoth.com), This ZZ Top flavoured quartet are from Manchester, and were recently voted Monsters Of Rock on Manchester’s 106 FM radio show. If you like your southern rock with a heavy boogie feel then you’ll lurve Elias T. Hoth. Elias himself looks like a haunted soul up on stage as he snarls: ‘Leaving Mississippi, heading down to Baton Rouge, killed a man up in Memphis wanted by the FBI.’ It’s boooogie all the way with this lot, and they don’t let up; in fact their set gets better as it goes along,
Yes, there’s a version of the Top’s Tush, but their own material is just as strong. Hex On You, with its Red Indian-style tom tom drums, is rip-roaring voodoo boogie, while Rolling Thunder showed off the duelling guitars of Elias Hoth and Sam. And the mainman likes to sing about Southern Belles, as on the mid tempo Sleazy Hussy Fever. I was well impressed; can’t wait to see this lot again very soon. I can also highly recommend their CD Let Sleepin’ Demons Lie.
And so to the headliners MelonheadMan (www.myspace.com/melonheadman). From Tunbridge Wells, Kent they are promoting recent album The Good And The Bad. Again, it’s a real mixture of styles: part Skynyrd, part country, part bluegrass and all moulded into MelonheadMan, fronted by Simon Savage who has the right kind of gravelly voice for this kind of fayre. He is especially potent on Bad Bob, Hey Baby and Devil’s Daughter (for Jim Dandy!). He’s blessed with a tight band backing him, honourable mentions go out to Tim Farmer (bass) Ted Rogers (guitar) and backing singer Melody Savage!
A very enjoyable evening, The south has risen again. Now where’s The Rebel Yell, Crown Royal, Wild Turkey, Jack Daniel’s…?!
Tags: 100% Proof, 38 Special, Barry Warren Ryan Carr, Doc Holliday, Elias T. Hoth, Jim Dandy, Lizard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Melody Savage, MelonHeadMan, Molly Hatchet, Simon Savage, Snakeoil Rattlers, Splitcrow, Ted Rogers, The Allman Brothers, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Tim Farmer, ZZ Top