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Live – Jason and The Scorchers, Sheffield October 1st 2012

| 24 October 2012 | Reply

With Roaming Son.  The Greystones, Sheffield, UK
By Wavey Dave Howarth

The Greystones in Sheffield is a strange venue, given the array of quality venues in the city, as it’s basically a suburban pub well out of the city centre.  However, it seems to have taken over from the sadly defunct Boardwalk with it’s superb line up of bands.

I was fortunate enough to have seen Jason Ringenberg play there solo last year and having chatted to the ever affable front man, I was over the moon when he said that he would do his best to visit Sheffield again with the Scorchers on their 30th Anniversary tour. Little did I suspect that they would actually come back and play the intimate back room at The Greystones!

What a complete privilege it was then to get tickets for The Scorchers at the sold out venue. It was clearly going to be a great atmosphere as the small room was already full when the exciting local support band, Roaming Son, took to the stage. Having seen them before supporting Dan Baird’s Homemade Sin, we knew to expect good things again. They’re perfect warm up for the likes of JATS etc, I’d describe them as, probably, heavy rockabilly.. but more rock than billy.. imagine the Reverend Horton Heat via Attercliffe Common if you will. Highlights of the brief but incendiary set, for me, were ‘Belly of the Beast’ and ‘Trouble at t’Mill’. I look forward to hearing some recorded material from these guys.

So on to the main event.. with the crowd nicely canned up on the top notch Thornbridge Ales (who own this great little venue), The Scorchers took to the bijou stage followed by the happiest man in rock… decked out in stetson and the most outrageous long red fringed coat I’ve ever seen. The criminally underrated guitarist Warner Hodges kicked in and we were away with ‘Lost Highway’.. quickly followed by (dedicated to the big drinkers of Sheffield) ‘Moonshine Guy’. The compact venue was already sweltering and the heat switched up a notch when Jason announced a song he hadn’t played since his original 80s heyday, strangely, the brilliant ‘Crashin Down’ and ‘Can’t Help Myself’.

Ringenberg is one of those front men who looks genuinely happy to be doing what he does. The fact that he is sweating his prairie oysters off in such a small venue, when he once tore 20,000 new assholes at Farm Aid, is clearly of no importance to him. Not unlike the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz, his jerky dance-like-no-one-is-watching and bluegrass liquorice-legged footwork is an absolute hoot and drags the whole audience in on a wave of enthusiastic dad dancing. Apparently his bright red fringed frock coat was a prop from an early 80’s video, and cost more than the whole of the last studio album (the essential ‘Halcyon Times’)… ‘Bible and a Gun’, ‘Harvest Moon’ and a riotous ‘Absolutely Sweet Marie’ followed breathlessly before a touching acoustic tribute, joined by current drummer Pontus Snibb (Swedish skinsman with Bonafide) to former drummer Perry Baggs who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Jason left the stage for a well earned pint of Jaipur (well I would have), leaving the microphone to Warner who regaled us with a few stories and reminded us to get our tickets to see him return with Dan Baird around Christmas.. Count us in! He then played one of his own numbers ‘Better Than This’ and what a stormer it was.. that guy can sing AND play and careers around the stage like a demented whirling dervish at times.

Our hero came back and talked about his reverence for one Ginger Wildheart with whom he enjoyed a very productive writing partnership on the latest album. Best of these being ‘Golden Days’, perfect power cowboy punk pop.. probably. Apparently Ginger had joined them for the whole encore in London the night before but we weren’t quite so lucky. No problem though as the music was unrelenting.. ‘Shop it Around’ and ‘Shotgun Blues’ followed before Jason once again dedicated a song to the boozers of Britain and closed the set with ‘Drugstore Truck Drinking Man’.

Jason hails from Sheffield Illinois, which seems to be one of the reasons we always seem to be lucky enough to be on his tour itinerary. He insists that our famous city was named after his “hicksville backwater dust bowl town” (his words) and that his mother is known as the ‘Queen of Sheffield’ which makes him ‘The Prince of Sheffield’… and he raised a ‘Broken Whisky Glass’ in honour of the fact in his encore… bringing the roof down finally with a sweaty and raucous ‘Mona Lee’ (another Wildheart collaboration).

A truly red hot night of amazing rock and roll from a band I swear should be huge… but I’m pleased are humble enough to play live before a naked steaming eyes… literally. Catch them while you can.. yeee and indeed harrr.

Some footage from the show:

Category: Live Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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