Saturday, 30 March 2013
JD McPherson/ Royal Southern Brotherhood- Corner Hotel
Last night I saw another Bluesfest sideshow with JD McPherson and The Royal Southern Brotherhood at the Corner Hotel. It was an interesting gig to day the least, more people came to see the support act which was JD than they did the headliners. The venue was probably just over half capacity when JD came on but as soon as he made for exit stage left the punters made for the front exit. So when the Royal Southern Brotherhood came on the venue was three quarters empty, which was both disconcerting and disappointing, if you go to a gig you at least stay and watch the headline act, you've paid for the ticket!
JD McPherson gave an incendiary performance, it's high up their for my gig of the year so far. He basically tore the Corner to shreds, from the moment he hit the stage with his band he didn't take his foot off the pedal. His album Signs and Signifiers has had an interesting gestation period it was released nearly three years ago on a small label in the U.S and gained a cult following. Last year Rounder records picked up the album and re-released it to more acclaim and stronger sales, helped along by a performance on The David Letterman Show. Melbourne has a strong rockabilly/rock n roll scene so they were out in force, it's an interesting crowd, a mix of hot rod shirts, nudie shirts and plenty of slicked back hair and brylcream! JD didn't let them down showing the same raucous and faithful display that permeates through his album. The highlight for me was the closing number Wolf Teeth which has the darkness of a classic r&b tune from the late 50's, it also has some amazing work from his piano player he does a great impression of Jerry Lee by giving his elbows a workout across the keys. North Side Gal is pure 50's r&b with honking sax and frantic vocals whilst Scratching Circles goes back to the early 50's when R&B began to add a sharper backbeat and begin the transformation towards rock and roll. You can see and hear that this is a band who have performed a lot of gigs because they were tight, Jimmy Sutton on stand up bass is a wonderful player, he really has that slap rhythm down pat. If JD gets out here again don't miss it because I think there big things to come from him.
After a half hour break The Royal Southern Brotherhood which boasts a stellar cast of musicians including Devon Allman (son of Gregg), Cyril Neville and Mike Zitio came on stage to an empty room and a splattering of applause. However it didn't seem to affect the band, they played with passion and were incredibly tight. However for me it all seemed like I'd heard it all before, the hard southern rock, lots of guitar solos it lacked freshness. I haven't heard their self titled debut and it did get rave reviews in the U.S but it didn't grab me. I was impressed with Devon Allman on guitar, he looks similar to his uncle Duane, he plays those rapid runs that Duane was the master of.