The Johnnys are a unique band. Cowboy Punk – Yep… punk, country and western, and beer all mixed together. Add some Tokyo Beef and Vinnies Dive, and you have a perfect combination.
There were quite a few Vinnies Dive virgins there I knew that night, and they were impressed. It’s a compact venue where you get close to the band, nice loud sound, friendly staff and easy to get a drink, and the light rail just outside the front door.
Up first were Burleigh Heads punk rockers Tokyo Beef: loud, proud, fast, and ready to rock the house down. Thumping, driving and bringing out some new material since we last caught them. The rhythm section pumps it out, punk doodles and noodles, with Graeme on rhythm guitar and vocals the glue holding it all together like the sinew in a T-Bone. They got a great reaction from the crowd with a packed dance floor.
Now the Johnnys have had many incarnations throughout the years, the longest surviving and most solid line up was previous to this when Spencer P Jones was in the band on guitars and vocals and was also the songwriting power of the band. Unfortunately, Jones passed from this mortal coil to move on to that great prairie in the sky back in 2018, but in something good coming from bad, this inspired the remaining members of the classic Johnnys lineup – Hoody, Billy Pommer Jnr, and Slim to reform the band and play some gigs, the 2019 tour of The Beasts seeing them do a major tour and, as per usual drinking stage riders dry.
You know the lads hit the stage, and they were ready for two things. Play their own brand of great rock n roll in that cowboy punk way, and to drink beer. Hoody made that obvious, calling for more jugs to delivered to the stage, as the veteran musician and beer drinker even has a ‘beer’ sticker on the back of his bass, to make his need obvious! The great thing about the Johnnys is that they deliver their music with their tongue firmly planted in their cheek, have fun, and are great musicians. They may not be Pavarotti on the vocals, but the songs are great and the crowd knew all of the words and sang them as well.
They started off with ‘Way of the West’ and Slim’s fingerpicking electric guitar playing was on point, and he was having a great time. The beer monster that is Hoody was smiling, cheeky, irreverent and one hell of a bass player, all over the fretboard, and pairing with his rhythm partner in crime, and born Gold Coaster, Billy Pommer Junior a master of the drummer kit technically amazing, and true of the saying as you get older you get better.
The favourites were all on the list, ‘Injun Joe’, ‘Showdown’ (crowd favourite), and they finished up with ‘Bleeding Heart’, a real classic ‘Deadmen’ (from Boot Hill) was a dance-a-thon, but the old flip side ‘Slip Slap Fishin’ ‘ was a killer, Billy Pommer Junior’s drumming skills on show and rocking the house down. The Johnnys came out for an encore, and it was the classic ‘Mountain Man’, and the one more which the chorus was just “Yeeehaa”, a perfect end to the set. The crowd was keen for more but that was a wrap. Good night, great songs and the chance to reminisce of the great days of the past.
Vinnies, cow punks and beer…. Pretty damn good y’all….
Images (C) Peter Wheeler Photography