Truth be told, I’m a bit tired tonight. I’ve just started a new night shift job and I’ve not had that much sleep. Nonetheless, it’s good to be back at Backstage at the Green Hotel for another gig. Tonight, my girlfriend Jo is indisposed so my friend Callum is taking her place as my gig buddy for the evening. He isn't as pretty or charming, but he's passionate about music and he's a funny guy, so he's the next best thing.
We always like to arrive nice and early when we go to Backstage, that way we can grab a drink and get a good look at all the cool music memorabilia on the wall. I’m having a sober October, but they have a bottle of Heineken 0.0 % at the bar, so I decide to give that a bash. It’s actually pretty damn decent but I’d be lying if I said that I’m not a little jealous of Callum’s pint, glistening in its full alcoholic glory. It might be the lack of sleep but I’m sure it just winked at me!
We're here tonight to see Skinny Molly, who are a bit of a Southern Rock supergroup. The band features former members of both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot along with a rhythm section who developed their chops in Nashville.
As soon as the fellas hit the stage, we realise we that we are in for a fun night. One of the first song’s they play is called ‘Here for a Good Time’, and as my old pal, Ron Seal once said, 'it does exactly what it says on the tin'. It's clear that lead singer and guitarist Mike Estes is in great voice and he trades licks and riffs with Jay ‘Jay Bird’ Johnson. To me, the drumbeat is the foundation of the Southern Rock experience. A good Southern Rock drummer combines blues and rock with the slightest hint of country twang and an undercurrent of power. Skinny Molly sticks man Kyle Law does all this and more. Of course, the drummer is only one half of the rhythm equation. Bassist Luke Bradshaw is Yin to Kyles Yan and he's also brought his A-game. He may be sporting double-denim but with his leather cowboy hat, facial hair and stellar playing he’s definitely more Lemmy than Jeremy Clarkson.
The third song, Snakebit starts with gently thumbed bass and soft ride cymbal before erupting into maximum riffage, and Jaybirds lead guitar tone on the outro is amazing. The next song, Judge Parker, with its massive rhythm guitar sound, southern swagger and strong lyric reminds me of the great ‘The Boys From Alabama’ from The Drive-By Truckers ‘Dirty South’ Album. Later in the set, lead guitarist Jay gets to showcase his not inconsiderable vocal talent on a great cover of Free’s ‘Wishing Well’. By the time the band play ‘Devil and the Bottle’ they are really in a grove and are sounding tighter than the lid on a pickle jar, spitting out chunky riffs so solid that they shake you to your very core.
The latter part of the set features killer song after killer song, including cracking versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Freebird'. Like most It's an incendiary finale with more false endings than M Night Shyamalan’s entire filmography.people who have been to a wedding or seen a cover band, I’ve seen numerous live versions of Sweet Home Alabama. However, I’ve never seen it done as good as this. It really is world class, particularly the lead guitar work and vocals. You won't hear many cover bands attempt Freebird though. It’s such a difficult and long song to play that hecklers will often shout out requests for it at non-Skynyrd related concerts. Skinny Molly though don’t shy away from a challenge and play 'Freebird' with flair. It is a blistering performance, running the gamut from the amazing tender slide guitar to an incendiary finale with more false endings than M Night Shyamalan’s entire filmography.
The performance elicits a rousing response from the lively Kinross audience with cries of ‘wan mair tune’. Someone even ups the ante with a call for ‘two mair tunes’. Skinny Molly only plays one more song, but it’s a peach. A rocking take on Steve Earle’s ‘Copperhead Road’. It’s a great end to another great night out in Kinross. I contemplate another alcohol-free beer before we hit the road but decide against it. I’m driving after all.
Sweet Home Alabanter!
The Skinny Molly guys have a nice line in between song banter. Here’s some of the highlights from the gig.
Mike: I played here about 11 years ago.
Jay: 10 years ago, there was a population explosion in Kinross. Now there is a bunch of wee Scottish bairns with Kentucky accents.
Mike: Everything sound ok?
Enthusiast guy yells back: Hell yeah!
Mike: Sh*t, I didn’t know my Dad was here!
Mike: Are you ready to rock?
Enthusiast woman yells back: Aye!
Mike: Oh Hi!
Enthusiast woman: No, I said “Aye”.
Mike: Someone sent up a request a couple of minutes ago, and no, we’re not going to stop playing
Mike: We’ve even got a setlist... because we’re thinking of going pro.
Drunk Woman as the band prepare to play encore: Hurry up, I have to pee!
Jay: Two pints of lager and ‘Freebird'... you think I dont?
Our reviewer Colin, likes to think he's a funky fella, we put him to the test by getting him to review the seminal second Average White Band LP.
March 4th Monday 2019
A brilliant family friendly day out at Scone Palace at the Scottish Snowdrops Festival
February 26th Tuesday 2019
Former guitarist with Argent and Phoenix, ace musician and singer John Verity lifted the roof off of The Green Hotel.
February 25th Monday 2019