Whiskey Myers @ O2 Institute, Birmingham – Wednesday 22nd May 2019
It has been two years since Whiskey Myers were last here in Birmingham and, apart from a brief visit for 2018’s Download Festival, their fans on this side of the Atlantic have had to endure a long wait to see them in the flesh. A new, eponymous, album is due later in 2019 which will be the follow up to 2016’s breakout album Mud that saw the Texas natives take huge strides both critically and commercially, growing their fan base and introducing their music to a wider audience.
A decent sized crowd at the Institute welcome the sextet (guitarists Cody Tate and John Jeffers, drummer Jeff Hogg, bassist Jamie Gleaves, multi-instrumentalist Tony Kent and frontman Cody Cannon) and they ease into ‘Frogman’ which is followed by the laid back acoustic picking of ‘On the River’. ‘Deep Down in the South’ and ‘Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd’ pick up the pace, highlighted by infectious riffing and Cannon’s frazzled delivery. Like all of the truly great Southern rock bands (take your pick from the Allman’s, Skynyrd or the Marshall Tucker Band), Whiskey Myers live is a no frills experience. This is not a band for visual flourishes, choreography or even much on stage movement at all; they simply feed off the energy of the audience to build a vibe that is all about the music. That said, Tony Kent still takes centre stage for his customary firecracker cowbell solo that delights one and all.
A couple of new songs (‘Gasoline’ and the Jeffers’ sung ‘Bitch’) hint that the new album will be a muscular record with some power and menace, although the Southern pride still shines through. Yet as satisfying as these hard-edged rockers might be, ‘Ballad of a Southern Man’ and ‘Stone’ show that when Whiskey Myers pull out the acoustic guitars or play a piano-led ballad they are at their most articulate and authentic. They close out with a fiery cover of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ to round off a night that saw a great band play great songs to a great crowd…proof enough that the future of Southern rock is in pretty good shape.
On the River
Deep Down in the South
Bar, Guitar, and a Honky Tonk Crowd
Broken Window Serenade
Early Morning Shakes
Ballad of a Southern Man
Where the Sun Don’t Shine
Rockin’ In The Free World