“We’re gonna rock this town, rock it inside out… We’re gonna rock this town, make ’em scream and shout”

I’d heard Brian Setzer was coming to town and having mastered ‘Rock this Town’ on Guitar Hero, (don’t judge me) and having a fondness for Rockabilly but rarely the opportunity to indulge, I put my name down to review Brian Setzer’ Rockabilly Riot. So here’s my story…

I am still on my P’s when it comes to Rockabilly. I love Chuck Berry & Johnny Cash, like a bit of Bill Haley and when I was a wee girl found it really easy and delightful to know the words to ‘My Ding-a-Ling’, ‘See you later Alligator’, ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ and ‘Great Balls of Fire’. But I always go to these events feeling like an outsider, with my long wavy seventies hair, black skinny jeans and minimal made up face. Amongst the men that spend more time styling their hair then I ever would, the thick soled shoes, A-line dresses and floral prints my companion and I stuck out like sore thumbs. Rockabilly is excluded from the mainstream and with it more a lifestyle than just a genre I’m feeling like a voyeur standing by a large group who seemed to know everyone, I just wanted the lights to dim so I could stop being stared at like a ‘music tourist’…

 …Lanie Lane was the supporting act and she cut a very nice figure up onstage in a teeny tiny black halter dress, red fringed jacket and was my very first band to see live with a female double bass player. She sung Muddy Water’s ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, her own ‘Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling in Love with a Cowboy’, ‘What Do I Do’ and finished off with ‘Ain’t Hungry’ which finally got the crowd shuffling…

 …Her bands backing vocals from the boys during ‘What do I do’ were a highlight for me and it was intriguing looking around being with such an eclectic crowd…

 …The punk rockabillies with their Mohawk’s, the beards, the double father and son team in-front of me passing down the love for the ancient rockabilly ways…

 …When the man himself appeared he looked like a true neo-rockabilly icon in his thick-soled shoes, black Johnny Cash suit with fluoro green lapels, with matching green paisley printed vest and a super cool silver cross and bones bolo tie with metallic shiny green electric guitar. Sorry it’s so hard to focus solely on the music when everyone looks so badass!…

 …First half of the night had Setzer with an old time double bassist Johnny Hatton and drummer Noah Levy who was the spitting image of Buddy Holly. Playing ’49 Mercury Blues’, ‘Drive like Lightning’ and Rockabilly classic ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’ even though the quiffs were floppy and the hairlines receding – for me – this was an thoroughly entertaining show…

 … Johnny Hatton with his sticking out ears, thin rimmed glasses but huge quiff dyed fluoro green looked like a part-time mechanic and full-time rockabilly for life. Alternating between straddling the bass like a steed, laying it on the floor and hovering the double bass precariously over the heads of the crowd there’s still some great rocking years left in these old-timers…

…Next half of the night fellow Stray Cat’s drummer Slim Jim Phantom came on with a cocky swagger that would put most 18 year olds to shame. When Mr Setzer asked Slim Jim to give a fashion tip to the Adelaide crowd Phantom’s pearl of wisdom was ‘two belts are better than one’ – duly noted sir, duly noted…

 ……All throughout it was so hard for me to take pictures on my shonky camera as the ground was shaking from all the toe-tapping and foot stomping being undertaken. Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ was gratefully received as Setzer’s low baritones reverberated over the crowd and ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’ released the two hound dogs standing next to me as these grown men went absolutely crazy, though I found the rest of the crowd incredibly tame…

 …‘Runaway Boys’, ‘Rock and Roll Queen’, ‘The Stray Cat Strut’, ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Fishnet Stockings’ were also on the set-list. Slim Jim looked uber-cool chewing gum, playing so damn intricate and fast with youngest man in the group and double bassist/Johnny Depp doppelganger Chris D’Rozario competing with Hatton for the most outlandish assault with the double bass…

 …Hatton and D’Rozario had it out with a somewhat slap-rivalry which reeked of ‘performance’ as Mr Setzer  joined them and couldn’t handle more than 10 minutes of slap bass. In the end the ground absolutely shook with people stomping the floor, braying for an encore and screaming for more of the same…

 FREAKING BADASS…

 …‘Rock this town’ – which is ashamedly the only song I know word for word from hours of guitar hero – was awesome as they finished of the night with ‘Seven nights to Rock’. Not the most raucous Rockabilly event I’ve been to but the men onstage were in top form and though the oldies aren’t as vicarious as they once were (so I’m told) they still absolutely commanded. Brian Setzer’s guitar playing was just as infamous and mesmerizing seen live and if I could have seen the Stray Cats in their hay day I would have loved to.

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One thought on ““We’re gonna rock this town, rock it inside out… We’re gonna rock this town, make ’em scream and shout”

  1. Gael says:

    Great shots Mi! That was an awesome gig!

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