Home Gigs Gig Review : The Supersuckers & The Warner E. Hodges Band The Patriot – Home of Rock, Crumlin, Newport

Gig Review : The Supersuckers & The Warner E. Hodges Band The Patriot – Home of Rock, Crumlin, Newport

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Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

The tight-kit tendrils of terraced cottages, flanking The Patriot, cling to the valley sides underneath leaden and moody skies.

The initial autumnal clutches are beginning to grasp tightly as the juggernaut that is the UK leg of Warner E. Hodges’ European tour, featuring the raw, bleeding talents of the equally time-served rapscallions The Supersuckers. A multivariate co-headlining duo of unquestionable quality.

There’s a clear, palpable sense of camaraderie and mutual respect between both bands; from the first sound-checking notes, pre-gig, right through to the final raucous cheers as the metaphorical curtains come down upon a fine evening of hard rocking Stateside style.

“That E stands for ‘ass-kicking’ doesn’t it?” notes The Supersuckers’ founding frontman and bassist Eddie ‘Spaghetti’ Daly, half in statement and half in enquiry, as the ever-affable Hodges steps up to embroil himself in the mayhem of his co-headliners as their set delectably froths over the brim during ‘Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers’; a supercharged track that serves as a perfect compliment to the night.

The compliment is reciprocated later with Eddie and guitarist ‘Metal’ Marty Chandler joining forces with Warner and his travelling troubadours for a couple of numbers; it’s that kind of night. Free flowing as the mountain stream with the meandering grace of the fully-fledged watercourse all coupled with an inner ferocity.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” roars Eddie as he and his colleagues Marty and drumming apocalypse Chris ‘Chango’ von Streicher take to the Patriot stage enshrouded in darkness. Forewarning, as way of introduction “We’re gonna rock the house!” the enigmatic bassist continues.

Canines bared The Supersuckers are frenetic and ferocious, in equal measure, to the very nucleus. Upon their tornadic dynamism they carry the conclusion of what would have occurred had Lemmy been born in Nashville not Stoke-on-Trent.

Visualise a force ten dust devil invading the interior of a premium roadside bar and grill and you’re en route to grasping the core ethics of this pugilistic triumvirate. It’s that crisp pint of high-end beer and the succulent steak but all with an added crunch and grittiness served up in a whirling maelstrom.

From the moment our senses are invaded with the hefty opening statement of intent that is ‘All Of The Time’ it’s compelling stuff. Right along their wildly bucking tightwire to the tempestuous set-closing stampede of ‘Born With A Tail’ The Supersuckers are unrelenting, uncompromising, and unrepentant. With twenty tracks sandwiched in between it’s a rollickingly entertaining rollercoaster.

Six-stringer Marty has a Bon Scott patented glint in his eye as he stares out into the crowd smiling broadly whilst all the while Eddie and the manic tubthumping Chris lay down an almighty ball busting rhythm. There’s more than a dash of The Ramones throughout proceedings; indeed, there’s a swift “1-2-3-4!” to lead into ‘Rock n’ Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year). It is time honoured no doubt of it but there’s a cut that is purely theirs.

They even possess the ‘sphericals’ to dedicate a song to themselves; “It’s by us, ‘bout us!” quips Eddie as he, with tongue firmly inserted into cheek, introduces the nitrous-fuelled punk of ‘Roadworn and Weary’. This is an outfit that veers away from the script with wild abandonment. Reeling off a Motorhead-infused riff Marty strafes the crowd before kissing his headstock; with a rattling gasp there’s a Ghoultown fringe to ‘Get The Hell’.

It’s a good ol’ fashioned slobber-knocker of a set, letting the good times roll in a tsunamic wave. It’s punchy as you like but without losing control; there’s an unwavering eye for the moment as the raising of middle digits is positively encouraged. Proclaiming “I’m Metal Marty from Idaho” the dervish on the Les Paul furthers “Wanna play some rock n’ roll!”

There are no dissenting objectors, so we’re floored with a hat-trick of his solo offerings including the roof-lifting ‘Workin’ My Ass Off’ and the shamelessly reworked glam beat of ‘Idaho Baby’. The Patriot bounces along faithfully to ‘Double Wide’ which mills together The Ramones and Motorhead in a single conflagrant package.

It’s granular and arenaceous, glorious for it, and matters are cranked right up with the countrified boogie of ‘Pretty Fucked Up’ dovetailing with finesse alongside the middle finger raising ‘Born With A Tail’ to round off a riotous 80 minutes that leaves The Patriot sizzling in expectation for the second course of the evening.

Probably best known for his lengthy tenure with instrumental cow-punk developers Jason and The Scorchers Warner E. Hodges was once described, by his bandmate Jason Ringenberg, as “the only guitarist in the world who can really bridge the gap between James Burton and Angus Young.” Indeed, this larger-than-life character effortlessly provides a flawless conduit between the gentler tones of country through to the steel edge of hard rock; a combination of styles that has served him well.

Very much in parallel with his fellow co-headliners Hodges has a musical career that stretches across a good few decades with stints in Dan Baird’s Homemade Sin, Disciples of Loud and Bluefields. His time with The Scorchers is reprised, in the latter part of the set, in a refined fashion craning in ‘If Money Talks’ and ‘White Lies’ from 1985’s ‘Lost & Found’ long-player. Joined on stage by initially Metal Marty and then Eddie Spaghetti it’s a conflagrant charge in which Hodges leads the Patriot in a chorus of hearty ‘Yeehaws’. It’s brash and colourful, a most welcome sprinkling of the South across the valleys.

Touring “everywhere and anywhere” as Hodges puts it on his official website, he and his tight-knit band – featuring Ben Marsden (guitar), Jason Knight (bass) and most recent addition drummer Shane Dixon – are in the midst of a lengthy European tour that commenced in Alva, Scotland before scooting across to Spain towards the end of September. It’s an unrelenting schedule that runs across nine countries up to the middle of November, proper old-school touring.

Bursting onstage Hodges roars to the Patriot faithful “Y’all ready to have fun?” after offering sincere compliments to The Supersuckers, that mutual respect is the merest of gaps away. Set opening number ‘That Rock n’ Roll’ with its AC/DC-soaked roots elicits a loud cheer from the crowd and a wholehearted “Hell Yeah!” from Hodges. The line “I just wanna play all day” is a pure fit.

Bouncing bassist Jason, replete with flame-fringed trousers, leaps high as the band power into the surging ‘Aint That Far Away’. Out front and centre Warner indulges in the first of several trademark guitar ‘spins’, never missing a note whilst the kick-ass guitaring of Ben Marsden acts as a succulent foil coupled with the hard as nails percussion of Shane Dixon.

‘Preachin’ To The Choir’ hits a southern drawl with a shuffling 12 bar beat; a tone has been set upon a high bar. Hammering loudly on the front door of the Morrison Hotel, tipping a knowing nod towards the roadhouse, is ‘Take Me Downtown’ – one as a lifelong Quo fan which immediately catches the ear.

The introduction we were served at Chepstow Castle back in August is being escalated neatly with AC/DC riffs aplenty that stray into country realms culminating in a scintillating rendition of ‘Riff Raff’. Mr. Hodges, along with his charges, is certainly not shy of a cover version or two slamming in a hyper-paced outing of Tom Petty’s ‘Running Down A Dream’ before tumbling and cascading through John Denver’s classic ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’. Coupling the latter with ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ works on so many different levels and could easily have been the curtain call.

However, Hodges doesn’t work like that and immediately heads off into an energetic romp via ‘Right Back Where I Started’ and, with the crowd baying loudly for another, responding with a glammed up ‘Back In Town’. E most definitely stands for ass kicking, a prominent theme of the entire evening with the valley roads awaiting to take me home.

Photography by Kelly Spiller for MPM

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