The night began with a big lineup outside the venue, of those who had not bought tickets to this much-anticipated gig. As we got to the door, it was going to be a case of bad luck for many, for at 8.45pm all tickets were sold and it was a full house.
As soon as we got through the door the support, The Johnnys hit the stage. I have not seen those rocking cowpunks for near on 35 years. Lead singer, songwriter, and also founding member of the Beasts of Bourbon Spencer P Jones, had left this mortal coil, but Hoody, Slim, and Billy Pommer Junior were out there on stage, and although Spencer was missing, he was there through the tunes he had penned: ‘Slip Slap Fishin’’, ‘There’s Gonna Be a Showdown’, ‘Elvisley Yours’, ‘Bleeding Heart’, and crowd favourite ‘Mountain Man’ to finish. They rocked, and the audience loved them. Most there knew every song. There were lots of beer cans raised to Spencer, but I was waiting for his standard line at every gig, “Remember the more you drink, the better we sound!”. But maybe that one was left for him to say out there on that big prairie in the sky.
Up next were The Beasts, no longer the Beasts of Bourbon, with Spencer P Jones, and Brian Hooper passing away. They were touring their new album ‘Still Here’, and what a stellar list of musicians these guys are: Tex Perkins on vocals, Kim Salmon and Charlie Owen on Guitars, Boris Sujdovic on Bass, and Tony Pola on drums. These guys can really play and it was all tuned in for a top gig made up predominantly of tracks from the new album.
Tex was in fine form, and the crowd was lapping it up. Playing the James Baker-written ‘Drunk on a Train’, he paid homage to the former Beasts of Bourbon and Hoodoo Gurus drummer, and remarked, “That is a hit record, one of you kids out there need to record that, we are too old to make it a hit”. It was great seeing Kim Salmon on the guitar without the singing duties, as he was set free to work his own unique style upon the fretboard. Charlie Owen had deft touch on the guitar as well, and the rhythm section of Boris Sujdovic and Tony Pola was a solid as a Folsom Prison train.
It was such a fun gig, and the band seemed like they were having a better time than anybody. When they finished the funky ‘Just Right’, Tex remarked, “Shit that was fun”. They finished the set before the encore with the Axemans Jazz classic ‘Dropout’, and it was almost like Tex didn’t want to leave the stage. They came back and did a four song encore, and finished with the Spencer P Jones classic, ‘Execution Day’. A five star night.
IMAGES (c) Peter Wheeler Photography