Review By Dean Pedley, Photos by Lisa Billingham
Molly Hatchet, the hard living southern rockers from out of Jacksonville, have seen a considerable number of members come and go over the years but the current line-up can still count one founder in guitarist Dave Hlubek. Hlubek takes a back seat these days to band leader Bobby Ingram, who came on board as guitarist back in ‘87, and Phil ‘Hell Yeah’ McCormack who has been fronting Hatchet since the mid-90’s.
John Galvin has been on the keyboards since 1983 and completing the current line-up is the rhythm section of bassist Tim Lindsay and drummer Shawn Beamer who have both been part of Hatchet for close on a decade. With their credentials out of the way does the current band deliver the authentic Molly Hatchet sound? Based on what was witnessed at The Robin you would have to say Hell Yeah!
Kicking off with a couplet of barn burners in ‘Whiskey Man’ and ‘Bounty Hunter’ they immediately hit the spot, McCormack’s whiskey soaked growl and larger than life stage presence dovetailing with the sizzling twin guitar duels of Ingram and Hlubek which continues through a fierce rendition of ‘Gator Country’. Dedicating ‘Edge of Sundown’ and ‘Fall of the Peacemakers’ to the servicemen and women and veterans from both sides of the Atlantic, McCormack shows that he has the voice to fill the shoes of the late Danny Joe Brown.
Hatchet have always succeeded in extending their appeal to the Metal crowd and McCormack recalls a meeting at Sweden Rock with Ronnie James Dio before dedicating ‘Darkness of the Night’ to the late singer complete with trademark horns in the air. Later era material ‘Son of the South’ and ‘Devil’s Canyon’ maintains Hatchet’s reputation for crunching riffs and scorching solos. After closing the main set with their hard rocking cover of the Allman Brothers ‘Dreams I’ll Never See’ the encore sees Hatchet’s best known crowd-pleasing anthem ‘Flirtin’ With Disaster’ dusted off one more time in true fire in their bellies style.
For artists with such a long history as Molly Hatchet the past is always present with each show they play and rightly so. But there is no doubt whatsoever that the current band continues to proudly wave the confederate flag for kick ass southern rock.
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