Saturday night and a gig is a great combination. Add in the fact it’s pay weekend and it’s the first since Christmas and Glasgow is understandably ready for a good night despite the temperature. I’m sure there’s an anecdote about a monkey made of brass…
Tonight, The Cadillac Three bring their unique brand of Southern rock to Glasgow in tow with Whiskey Myers. Not wanting to waste any time, Whiskey Myers are on stage at their scheduled time and batter through half a dozen songs or so of Southern-drenched rock, if a little tamer than tonight’s headliners. Whilst I haven’t heard any of their material, I’ve heard good things and clearly so have many others who are already here, a few singing along and roaring their approval.
A couple of songs in and Cody Cannon has ditched his guitar in favour of holding onto his microphone as Cody Tate and John Jeffers hammer out riffs with ease. As they slope off the stage with little grandeur, applause isn’t spared as they made their impression and adding value for money onto tonight’s proceedings.
After a changeover, the three young gentlemen from Tennessee grace the Garage with their presence to a warm welcome and fire straight into “I’m Southern”, followed quickly by “Tennessee Mojo”. The Cadillac Three were keen to improve upon the impression they made last year, hitting most of the tracks on their debut album, Tennessee Mojo, such as “Back It Up”, the sombre “Whiskey Soaked Redemption”, Get Your Buzz On” and their own take on “Days of Gold”. Along the way slipping in a couple of songs from the Peace, Love & Dixie EP and the new single “Graffiti”. Far more restrained than the debut material, it’s a more countrified take on The Cadillac Three’s sound, a slow burn of a song and possibly an indicator of how forthcoming material may sound.
Not in as much of a rush to get through their songs, Jaren Johnston took time out to chat with the crowd, most of it received positively, only breaking stride when saying he couldn’t understand the Glaswegian audience and the last time the band were here he mistook the town for Manchester. Well-intentioned and personally, I’m not too bothered and I’ve heard other bands say those kind of things before and it’s been met with laughs. Tonight, it’s met with jeering which doesn’t faze Johnston, launching into the next song.
Rounding out the night and forgoing an encore was “The South” and whilst tonight may have been the northernmost part of the tour, the lyrics bellowed back at the band “This is where I was born and this is where I’ll die” could apply easily to so many people in Glasgow. Such is the conviction it’s sang with and I’m sure it will apply to many other towns the guys hit. It’s the appeal of the song, they may be talking about the southern states of the USA and its lifestyle but the message is universal.
Acoustically, the night wasn’t perfect but being four rows from the barrier and off-centre, it was to be expected. Jaren Johnston’s vocals hit a little hollow whilst Kelby Ray’s lap steel and other rhythm toys were over-shadowed by Johnston’s sludgy, grinding riffs. Meanwhile Neil Mason takes things easy with his drums, setting pace but not dominating the show. Although the three of them have their place in a solitary position since one is at a drumkit, another occupied with lap steel et al and another stood at a microphone belting out his lyrics, the performance felt rigid and their was little energy on stage.
However, it doesn’t write them off. They were good in their own right and I’ll happily see them again but compared to when I saw them at Download, it felt a little flat. And with more dates of the current UK tour selling out, it seems that smaller, intimate club shows for this three will soon be a thing of the past.