Jason and The Scorchers
Oran Mor, Glasgow
3 October 2012
On the first night of the Glasgow Americana Festival, the organisers Fallen Angels Club, have pulled off something of a coup.
Jason And The Scorchers are celebrating their 30th year with a tour and tonight’s packed audience are in for a treat.
As the original “cowpunk”Â band, JATS spawned a whole raft of offspring. One can trace Ryan Adams, Son Volt, Wilco, The Jayhawks et al back to these trail-blazing pioneers. Melding raw punk rock energy with roots rock Americana, The Scorchers were, and are, one of a kind.
Strolling onstage in an ankle-length red coat which can only be described as part Civil War officer and part glam rock star, Jason Ringenberg hauls the band into Lost Highway.
Immediately it’s evident that the years have not doused the flames.
Guitarist Warner Hodges is a shape-throwing, guitar-flinging ball of energy. He peels off riffs that are part Hank, part Hendrix. This is not a man who’s content to stand still playing his parts; more than once he nearly careens into Ringenberg who is an equally demented onstage presence.
Ringenberg is an engaging frontman; he likes to tell the anecdotes and stories behind the songs and more than once he has the crowd in stitches. The one about original (and sadly, now deceased drummer Perry Baggs) and his uncanny knack of impersonations is bittersweet. He was caught in the act by Michael Stipe, an early studio collaborator who was less than impressed.
Moonshine Guy is a flurry of Moon-esque drumming from Pontus Snibb and deranged guitar from Hodges. Ringenberg twirls and pirouettes on the small stage.
Mona Lee from most recent album Halcyon Times is a crunching, sweaty beast. The country influence is never far away, and the vocal harmonies of bassman Al Collins in the chorus are as sweet and sublime as anything Nashville has produced in recent times.
Land Of The Free takes the breakneck pace down a notch. Hodges’ guitar is swamp-tinged and bluesy. The searing lyrics regarding American foreign policy are painfully apt.
Signature song Broken Whiskey Glass sees the audience in full sing-along mode for the lengthy intro before Hodges’ machine gun riff lifts the song into orbit. A crazed encore of White Lies sees The Scorchers leave the competition in the dust.
Jason And The Scorchers – the original and still the best.
All words by Joe Whyte. You can read more from Joe on LTW here.