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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Jericho Hill - McSorleys - 16/03/13

Jericho Hill are classed as a punk Johnny Cash tribute act, but no one should mistakenly think that what they do is like Johnny Thrash, or simply leans towards playing speeded up versions of the classics, because that's nowhere close to what these guys do.
Nowhere close at all.
Instead there's some added guitar flourishes that add a bit of a bite and a rumbling bass that give the more traditional acoustic guitar and drums something to rest back on.
It's far cleverer than just picking the tunes up a pace and messing about with the vocal delivery.
More a punky vibe than anything else.
That being the case the band sit perfectly on the line of paying homage, but falling short of being stuck in the rut of being mere copyists.
In the Glasgow bar McSorleys they played a sharp set of classics that delivered on all the favourites, and also managed to slip in the more modern tracks from the America series like Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus and NIN's Hurt, that similar to the Man in Blacks vintage hits had a little of a push on them rather than being note by note renditions.
I guess what you get when you see Jericho Hill is a bit of a spin on the music that allows some freshness to be blown into them.
I doubt many would disagree with that.

The initial set that the band played flew past and from a cold start they finished to a few brave souls getting up to dance.
By the time they picked up their instruments to begin the second set it was the audience that was reaching the stages of being warmed up, and it was a real pleasure to see a band manage to pull such a reaction from a crowd.
Two songs into the second set and the place was heaving with people dancing.
It was as if the touch paper that had smouldered through the first set had finally worked up enough heat to spark a fully fledged flame into life.
Highlight of the night for me were two songs that showed the band off in fine style.
The first was the Violent Femmes track 'Country Death Song' and then Dolly Parton's 'Jolene'.
Both, while not being Johnny Cash songs, had plenty of the Cash spirit woven through them to keep everything on track, and I suspect if you had managed to get a few drams into June back in the day the version we heard of Jolene is exactly what it would have sounded like.

An exceptional band, but as I had to leave as I was a slave to public transport one I managed to miss seeing finish the night.
Rest assured it would have been in fine style though.

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