The Kentucky Headhunters/ Bad Touch @ 02, ABC, Glasgow Oct13


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The Kentucky Headhunters/ Bad Touch @ 02, ABC, Glasgow


Tour Ad_Bad Touch & Mollie MarriottThe Kentucky Headhunters/ Bad Touch @ 02, ABC, Glasgow

After seeing this show last year you would be mentally deranged to miss it again. Even though Inglorious were playing down the street and I love them there was no way I was missing this. I was expecting big things from this show but even I was blown away at how good this was.

As I walk into the venue I am wondering what the smell is, no, it is not the Gary Numan fans downstairs…it is MUD! Local band The Swamp Born Assassins have been added to the bill and what a stroke of genius. I have heard a lot of noise about this band but never saw them live even though I am very familiar with two of the members Andy Christie and Allen Bell from another brilliant Glasgow band Last Alibi.

We may not have many swamps in Glasgow but plenty of stinking, huge puddles will just about suffice but as for the southern tinged rock that was blasting out those speakers I am pretty sure there was no Scottish influence. The band are very young in band years(I won’t say band members years…sorry Charlie) having only formed in 2015 but with with only a handful of live shows and a fantastic album in “Smell The Mud” you would expect a good deal of amateurism and basic errors but none were on show tonight. This band were as tight as a redneck before selling his latest batch of moonshine.

The first shock tonight was the amount of fans(swampers) the band brought in. I could not get near the band to take photos so I decided just to enjoy the show and by hell did I enjoy it. The band switch from pure southern rock to stoner, dabble in the blues and mix it all with some cracking lyrics.

The main man Charlie Moffat struts the stage like an Alice Cooper stripped of his make up and he play the harmonica like Steve Tyler. He also sweats like a gypsy with a mortgage but that is another story. The good old moothy runs through most songs and really gives every track a life of it’s own. Each songs is given so much more size just through that one instrument and it is great to watch and listen to a master at work, so often this instrument is given a little showcase at the beginning of a song and that is it but this really gives you the atmosphere for what the band are about.

With songs like “Crawl”, “Land of the Six Gun” and “Dead Man Talking” you have a showcase for the band and some real gator pleasers(whatever they are) but album title track “Smell The Mud” has the crowd singing and it really is Alice Cooper on a porch, whisky in one hand and a shotgun in the other…yeah, do not fuck with The Swamp Born Assassins.

This was a brilliant find and every person who had told me how good this band were was on the money. I look forward to many more shows from this band.

Do I really still need to introduce Bad Touch? I know I do but man this really pisses me off. I should just mention the name and everyone should be saying I know, how good are this band. I have been following them for three years now and this group of lads just kick my ass every time I see them live.

If you are like me and of a certain age(another way of saying old as hell) you will no doubt have a collection of friends who live in the past. They are still playing their battered and bruised Led Zep vinyls, will never get bored of telling you how good Paul Kossof is and constantly tell you how new music is just not good enough. Well, Bad Touch are my go to band when I am hit with that crap. Without fail I will dig out my ipod, dive into youtube or sing(nah, that last one is nonsense, that would send them running) and to this day not one person has been able to shoot me down.

Bad Touch are just a different class altogether and how they are playing venues this size I have no idea. They deserve the world and with frontman Stevie Westwood they have the voice of an angel. Take your pick of the cream of UK singers past and present, stick them in a battle royale and Stevie will walk out of each and every fight unscathed. If he is not the future of British vocalists I do not know who is. I mentioned Inglorious earlier and vocalist Nathan can sing, man can he sing and as much as I rate the band and the man there is no comparison between Stevie and Bad Touch(hence why I am at this show tonight).

Bad Touch do this effortlessly. There is no posing, no hanging onto those high notes, just brilliant, down to earth rock and roll…and as if to prove my point they open the show with “My Mother Told Me” with it’s Black Crowes intro, it’s Little Angels riff and the soul of the south.

Stevie is there with his usual busy attire( an other way of saying dodgy shirt), Seeks is wearing a bearskin that must be the Kentucky boys and it is time to get your dancing shoes on. Next up is a new song in “Take Me Away” and this just goes to prove that “Truth Be Told” is not going to be a fluke. “Outlaw” is up next and this could be your template for Blues Rock…killer lyrics, tick. Killer riff, tick. Soaring vocals, tick and top it off with a chorus that the whole venue were singing and it is game over.

The short set didn’t give you half as much as you really wanted and they left that stage far too early but they left you with memories to savour forever. They also slung in an incredible version of “Whole Lotta Love” at the headliners request.

Bad Touch are one of the best UK live bands on the circuit, if you have seen them you know this, if you haven’t get your ass to their headline shows coming up soon. Full dates below and with support from the talented Mollie Marriot it is a must see.

The Kentucky Headhunters are like the busses of Rock and Roll…you wait 30 years for them to play the UK and they play two years on the trot. The venue tonight is about double the capacity from last year which I am sure is down to word of mouth as that show was phenomenal. I do not care whether you favour blues, soul, rock or country as this band will shake your tree. A band who has been performing live for so long will either be living off of their past or they will be a kick ass bunch of hairy assed southern gods.

As well as great music you will also get some fantastic stories, some I cannot repeat. The one that got the biggest cheer was when Richard Young announced Black Stone Cherry becoming number one with a tear in his eyes…and we have the boys from Black Stone Cherry to thank for bringing this band here in the first place.

The set kicks off with “Dixie lullaby” and it sets the scene for the first few songs and that gorgeous country/blues sound we know and love. There is no way to say anything other than this is pure enjoyment. As with all Headhunters shows you know it will be sprinkled with covers and first up tonight is “Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine” and it is a song like this that sent Georgia Satellites to greatness. They captured the groove and as I had never been treated to seeing the Headhunters live until last year that band for me were one of the best damned live bands ever.

From that cover we slip straight into “The House Of The Rising Sun” and the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention and salute this rendition. The crowd are screaming the lyrics back at the band and the place goes crazy.

The covers mixed with the bands own classics just make for one big party, like a Saturday night on the porch in Kentucky, beer and whisky going down a storm and the tunes flying away on the night air whilst you watch the fireflies dancing(man, that is a picture I wish I could step into).

The party kept rolling and the songs kept coming, another brilliant cover in “Sprit In The Sky” had all us old folks happy(the bones will be aching later). This was the last night of the tour and with the brilliant relationship the Headhunters and Bad Touch have I knew they would once again be back on that stage together and sure enough as they start playing “With A little Help From My Friends” the boys take to the stage and finish it off with style.

Tonight I witnessed four hours of mazing music. Three bands totally that complimented each other and gave everyone here one hell of a show. I saw the best drum solo ever from the sprightly Fred Youngs, the man who loves his tartan hats now. This was an unforgettable evening and one that will stay with me forever.

The one last thing I want to say to the headhunters is please, please, please take Bad Touch over the pod and do a US tour with them as support. These boys deserve the break and how good would it be for you to open the door for them

Images and words Ritchie Birnie




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