Last night was the first anniversary gig by those southern-rock lovin’ boys, The Dirty South. The gig was held at The Grand Hotel, Bishop Auckland, and landlord Simon, who also runs a small brewery, had brewed a special Dirty South Ale for the boys and their guests.
A packed room waited expectantly as Doc and the boys made their preparations for this 1st anniversary bash. Lights were lit, drums were hit and sounds were checked. Then it was stage time.
Beginning with their usual intro music, the band launched into their “usual” set of Southern Rock. When I say “usual” I don’t mean that in any derogatory way – it is “usual” for these guys to play in an excellent, tight manner, without losing the fun factor of their playing – and that is what they did last night. Doc worked hard at crowd participation and eventually got us all on side. All around the room feet were tapping, faces were wearing sh*t eating grins and folks were snakenecking like crazy. (Snake neck – when you move your head rhythmically backwards and forwards in time to the music, as if you were a snake ready to pounce). It is impossible to pick any particular song from the first set for special mention – they were all great.
Likewise the players, in their own way each member of The Dirty South is excellent, with individual naunces that all together creates South Synergy (I just made that up) – when the sum is greater then the individual parts. You might think that having three guitar players in a band would be messy – but it ain’t – all 3 players have different sounds and techniques – it was a treat to see the faces of some of the punters when Ken Johnson of Blitzkreig let rip with his blisteringly fast fretwork, and Brad and Earl were equally inspirational in their playing. The rhythm section were, as usual, right in the pocket. The Rev with his dour face letting his bass doing the talking, and Elrond on drums grinning from ear to ear all the way through the show. The Doc, of course, is a consummate front man – great vocals and harp playing and really working the crowd.
The first set ended way too soon, and after a prolonged break (listening to Hayseed Dixie, eating chilli and drinking Dirty South Ale), the guys took the stage again and gave us more, much more of what we wanted.
There were folks up dancing, I managed to insinuate myself on stage for a tune (quite funny when all of the band left the stage to me for my extended slide solo) and later I took over the bass from Rev during Sweet Home Alabama – I was still seated in my chair at this point – I think he needed a comfort break! The Doc proudly announced that the guys were supporting Hayseed Dixie at The Carling Academy on Monday – nice one guys – and before we knew it the night was over. Mustn’t forget to mention Billy who worked the desk and the lights – I think Doc was in charge of the smoke machine which went a little crazy at times!
All in all another great night by a great bunch of guys – if you haven’t been Down South yet, you’d better get there soon – these guys will go onward and upward – Monday The Carling Academy – next week – who knows? Pictures by Terry Ferdinand of BishopFM. More here.