Review: The Cadillac Three – Garage, Glasgow 30 Jan 16

Every once in a while you get that rare occurrence, the perfect gig. A gig where even, when reliving it days after the event, you struggle to come up with any low points. Tonight was one of those perfect gigs. Two bands from the southern states of America, The Cadillac Three, and Whiskey Myers, travelling the length and breadth of the UK on the “Night Life Religion Tour”, to lay down some smokin’ southern rock.

Texans, Whiskey Myers, ambled onto the stage at the ungodly hour of 7.20pm. Ticket holders savvy enough to get there early were treated to perhaps the best performance from an opening act that I’ve ever seen. In short… Whiskey Myers were that good. The set kicked off with the title track to the album “Early Morning Shakes”, not your traditional charging bull of a set opener, but a slow burning peach of a song, all about the morning after the night before. Cody Cannon is an accomplished frontman that ticks all the required boxes, killer voice, great guitarist, and a handsome devil to boot, so much so, that there were some ladies on the barrier squealing with delight every time he made eye contact with them. There is a lot of squealing going on tonight, as it turns out a fair amount of the crowd are familiar with Whiskey Myers, and the band seem genuinely surprised that people are singing along with them.

“We’re Whiskey Myers from Texas, which is a long fucking way away!” exclaimed Cannon with a massive grin on his face.

Whiskey Myers are all about the songs. Storytelling is key to their sound, and Cannon tells a harrowing tale in “Broken Window Serenade”, echoing Neil Young’s “The Needle & The Damage Done”. The song describes the destruction that drug addiction causes, an incredible and heartbreaking tale. With three talented guitarists onstage, the guitar work on show is simply jaw dropping, and enough to give an eunuch a semi. The interchanging lead work from Cody Tate and John Jeffers is an aural delight, and Jeffers slide work on “Dogwood” is spellbinding. Tate himself takes over lead vocals on “Different Mold” which has shades of Clutch mixed in with some vintage heavy blues. Again, the guitar work is mesmerizing and the big guy can sing too. By the time the band take their bows and exit the stage there is a capacity crowd, with a hell of a lot of new fans screaming for one more song. When Whiskey Myers return to the UK, do yourself a favour and get a ticket. You will not be disappointed.

Check out our chat with Cody Tate HERE

Boundaries are made to be crossed, and Tennessee outfit The Cadillac Three are one band not-so-quietly going about their business, crossing every boundary that they come across. Winner of ‘Best New Band’ at The Classic Rock Awards 2014, one of the highlights at last years Download Festival, and in some instances a ball hair away from early AC/DC, the band will, upon their return home, head out on the road with Country Music superstars Kip Moore and then Florida Georgia Line. Yep, musical boundaries well and truly crossed with one almighty “Hellyeah”.

This is good time drinking music, and by the time that Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray, and Neil Mason take to the stage, the crowd is bladdered ,and the atmosphere is resembling a rowdy roadhouse.’I’m Southern’ is a rabble rousing start to the show and with a royal fuck you to any detractors, vocalist and guitarist Johnston sings..

“Cause I’m Southern and it ain’t my fault… If you don’t like me, that’s alright You can kiss my ass and honey, I’ll get by now”

Johnston has a gruff, gritty voice, which, like another famous Tennessee export, has been filtered through stacks of charcoal and left to mature (just the one Jack Daniel’s reference so far, so that’s not bad). Like Whiskey Myers before them, The Cadillac Three are genuinely blown away with the response that they get from the crowd, and also the fact that the UK in general has adopted them. Rolling Stone magazine noted how the UK gave the band their first big break, but Johnston is struggling with understanding the shout outs from the crowd, pausing for some good natured banter…

“Y’all have fucked up accents ! What’s that your saying ? something about soccer ?!”

It would be easy, as well as foolish, to dismiss The Cadillac Three as simply a party band. Let’s remember that Johnston is a Grammy nominated songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by other artists and topped the US charts. The phrase ‘in demand’ springs to mind. With a set culled from the “Tennessee Mojo” album, the “Peace Love & Dixie” EP, as well as a few brand new tracks, this was a night that seemed loose and free, with lots of jams. When drummer Neil Mason starts a solo up before “Days Of Gold” kicks in, Johnston picks up a spare set of drumsticks and the two flail away in unison, very visual, and a real highlight. The song also featured an incredible extended jam from the band that to me just screamed  ‘Let There Be Rock’… must have been the red Gibson SG that did it. Kelby Ray’s work on the lap steel guitar is what I feel makes The Cadillac Three stand out from the crowd, and he cuts a striking figure sitting there rocking out, connecting with the front few rows.

Too many cracking songs to mention, but ‘Tennessee Mojo’, ‘Down To The River’, ‘Back It Up’, and ‘Peace Love & Dixie’ are all rewarded with the loudest cheers, as is new single ‘Graffiti’. My favourite track however, is ‘White Lightning’… a simple, gentle should-have-been-number-one-single, that has a gorgeous soaring chorus and some cracking lyrics from Johnston…

“Faster than McQueen runnin’ them red lights Faster than the Duke boys jumpin’ that hillside”

Only one way to finish the show, and that is, of course, with ‘The South’, Johnston’s love letter to the place that he calls home. Verses name check some of the great southern States, as well as tipping a trucker hat to the music that he grew up with. The song fades out and the band take a step back, as once again the crowd takes over. A great way to end an incredible evening. No pretences. No bullshit… just plenty of passion.

Check out our interview with The Cadillac Three HERE

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Review: Dave Stott

Images: Ritchie Birnie

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