Dan Baird & Homemade Sin (Acousticish)
Jumping Hot Club
Caedmon Hall, Gateshead.
9th June 2016
Like most people who read my blog I grew up listening to ‘Rock Music’ and slowly over the years have evolved a more eclectic taste in my listening pleasures; but very little is more satisfying than a bunch of professional musicians, who are masters at their craft with a bunch of well written and crafted songs that touch my Soul and played LOUD; but perhaps not so loud these days.
When this gig was first advertised it was billed as ‘Acoustic’ then as the weeks went by; it was changed to ‘Mostly Acoustic’ then the week before; ‘electric guitars and bass will be included’.
Confused? I was.
Well; as a regular Jumping Hot Club attendee I turned up at 8.20, expecting the support act to start at or after 8.30; only to find Homemade Sin already half way through song #4 Foxy Lady!!
It took a minute or so to acclimatise to both standing at the back and what I was witnessing. It turned out that Dan was in fact playing an acoustic guitar but Warner E Hodges’ concession to the proceedings was ‘sitting down’ (something his legs struggled with all night).
As the song finished Dan tried tuning his acoustic; but the ever-fidgetty Warner kept messing about playing bits and pieces of tunes, breaking the hirsute bandleaders concentration, and making him giggle like a naughty schoolboy. It was that kind of night.
Finally happy with his guitar Dan played 3 notes and the band were straight on the money with laid back version of Moving Right Along, which put me in mind of Creedence Clearwater Revival; and not the all out Rocker I know and love.
Next out of ‘the top hat’ was a real oldie, from 1996 (?) Trivial as the Truth, featuring a special ‘liquid’ guitar solo or two from Mr. Hodges; who is surely the most under rated guitarist in the West.
As usual Dan Baird didn’t have a set list, with songs coming to him in ‘a flash’ some new, some old and a few covers just for the Hell of it. Such was their rendition of the weight, which came after he started talking like Rick Danko then took the band into one of Rock Music’s greatest songs, note for note perfectly even mimicking Levon Helm at one stage.
With so many songs to fit in and a strict 10.30 curfew, (hence the early start) the gig was split into two; with the restrained power of his Georgia Satellites All Over But the Cryin’ being quite outstanding in the first half; and another Satellites song, which I didn’t recognise, Railroad Steel had me putting 4 stars beside it in my notes.
During the first half Warner kept mischievously slipping in Elvis ‘melodies’ much to Dan’s amusement; mostly because they had recently discovered a Swedish Elvis impersonator on YouTube.
On our return legendary Rock Photographer Juan Fitzgerald invited me to sit at his table ‘near the front’……near? We were bang centre nearly sitting on Warner’s lap.
During the break, instead of snorting cocaine of hookers bosoms, Dan and bassist Micke Nilsson sourced a Swedish Elvis version of All Shook Up, which Dan played from his phone into the mic as the warm up to the second half. I’ve never seen a man laugh so long and so hard in all my life; which set off ripples of laughter through the packed hall. Again; it was one of those nights.
For the first song, Dan suggested Warner choose and after a second or two he slipped in a couple of notes and the band swooped in like vultures on a glorious interpretation of Damn Thing to Be Done.
As the applause died down Warner grinned at Dan and Micke, who’s eyes never left Dan’s hands all night as he tried and succeeder in keeping up, played the opening chord to the splendiferous Keep Your Hands to Yourself, and halfway through Warner stood up, played a scorching solo as he walked across the stage then, with barely a note out of place actually swapped guitars with Baird!
Another part Rock and Roll/part pantomime episode was when Dan asked Mauro Magellon if he could remember the intro to Little Darlin.’ The drummer shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘I feel lucky tonight.’ Lucky? He kept time all night like a Rolex watch.
Remember I mentioned where I was now sitting? Well following a slightly manic cover of Hurdy Gurdy Man; Dan pointed Juan and I out; suggesting we put our pens down and enjoy the show; which sparked a memory for Warner when he had been discussing the importance of Rock & Roll with Eric Ambler who suggested Rock Music was the most important thing in his life; to which Mr. Hodges retorted ‘but kids are dying all over the world every day.’ Perspective. I put my pen down (and tried to remember the rest of the show).
Of the last few songs, another old Satellites song stood out like a beacon; much like a lot of their magnificent back catalogue Sheila must surely have been one of the songs that spawned what we now know as Alt. Country. With Dan’s amazing voice, Warner’s shredding but subtle guitar playing and a rhythm section straight outta Rock Heaven the song was as good as anything I’ve heard in years.
The concert sort of concluded with Dan’s ‘token love song’ Fill The Skies, and the story of days and nights at Fort Rickens beach nr. Pensacola, that inspired it had my appetite whetted anyway.
With the curfew rapidly approaching Dan introduced the Rocktastic Promised Land as the ‘encore’ so asked for two seconds of cheering before Warner let loose on his Telecaster and Mauro tried to punch holes in his drum kit on the loudest Acoustic song I’ve ever head.
I’ve never not loved seeing Homemade Sin; but tonight the more restrained and certainly more relaxed version suited my current tastes just perfectly.