Review by Mark Granger
3 years. 3 years since Jason and the Scorchers played some shows, and they’re only doing these because they needed some warm up shows for their slot at the Ramblin’ Man Fair.
People start arriving in rainy Leicester at The Musician hours in advance, having travelled from as far away as Norway to see the show and Warner is there to greet the faithful with a big grin as they stand patiently in line. Later that night, Jason Ringenberg stands behind the line, umbrella in hand, mischievous grin on his face, knowing he’s next to unrecognisable in his waterproofs and John Deere cap. In fact, he manages to slip into the venue with only one fan recognising him and it’s no wonder really – the offstage Jason bears little resemblance to the whirlwind of energy that will grace the stage later that night.
As the venue fills up the excitement is tangible and the place erupts as the slightly modified Scorchers arrive on stage (Bassist Al Collins is away on tour with wife Stacie temporarily subbed by the more than capable Micke Nilsson of Dan Baird & Homemade Sin). With little fuss they tear into ‘Gettin’ Nowhere Fast’ and it’s like they’ve never been away. Jason, in his cowboy hat and sparkly white shirt, has morphed into the Jason everyone knows and loves – a ball of energy that dominates the stage, which is no mean feat when you have perennial showman Warner Hodges flanking you, pulling out insane guitar licks and flinging his guitar around his neck. But let’s be honest he’s Jason Ringenberg, we expect nothing less.
Tonight the band are playing without support so they tear through a career spanning two part set like it’s nothing. Pulling out deep cuts and big hitters alike and the crowd lap it up. Each song getting as big a cheer as the last because they don’t know when they’ll see this band again. Whether it’s the sweet acoustic sounds of ‘Somewhere Within’ which sees drummer Pontis Snibbs come to the front to play guitar and is dedicated to late Scorchers drummer, and founder member, Perry Baggs, or the driving ‘Last Time Around’ the crowd are as happy as pigs in shit.
There are times when it becomes apparent how much Jason’s voice has improved with age, like on ‘Beat On The Mountain’ and the ever wonderful ‘Pray For Me, Mama (I’m A Gypsy Now). It’s also quite clear that Jason can match his younger self in terms of energy as the band rip through ‘Golden Days’.
If you want proof of the bands enduring popularity among the faithful, when was the last time you saw a band, that’s been around for over thirty years open a two song encore with a song from their last album? Most bands of that vintage wouldn’t dare, but it’s exactly what Jason and the Scorchers decide to do with ‘Twang Town Blues’ and once again the crowd adore them for it. But the band ain’t dumb and to avoid a lynching they end with ‘White Lies’ which brings the night to a satisfying and very sweaty, conclusion.
Jason and the Scorchers may not materialise very often, but when they do they show other bands how a rock show should be played. Namely, like it’s the last one they’ll ever play. And with a band like Jason and the Scorchers it very well might be.