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Kentucky Headhunters/Bad Touch: O2 ABC Glasgow, 27th July 2016

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

kentucky headhunters

Unfortunately for me I only made it into Glasgow's ABC 2 part of the way through Bad Touch's support set. By this time they already had the audience interested and on their side and they proceeded to make a lot of new friends among the healthy crowd in attendance.

The Norwich based quintet are another of those young bands who are influenced by the classic blues rock sounds of the seventies and they are pretty good at it with guitarists Rob Glendinning and Daniel Seekings both happy to add a well placed lick when required. More about the groove than filling the songs with too many notes. Singer Stevie Westwood even takes a seventies attitude to facial hair but he is an amiable and friendly presence on stage with a good voice and a bonhomie which goes down very well indeed.

Much of their material is strong, melodic and memorable and songs like new one '99%' bode well for when they get round to recording a follow up to their debut 'Half Way Home'. These guys went down a storm tonight and made a bunch of new friends. All that hard work is starting to pay dividends and it's nice to see.

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The Kentucky Headhunters have been around in various guises since way back in 1968 so it's a little unbelievable that in a career full of Grammy awards and hit songs in their native USA that they have never made it over to the UK to play before now. This is primarily because of founder member Richard Young's fear of flying but as he explains we have his son, John who happens to be the drummer in Black Stone Cherry to thank for finally persuading him to get on a plane for the first time in thirty four years.

It's hard to say that after decades of a wait that it was worth it but seeing these grizzled yet lively old veterans on a stage performing their unique blend of country, rock and blues is a delight for everyone in the ABC.

In a set covering their varied career we get to see how easily experience makes it look with an effortless swagger to their playing in bluesy opener 'Big Boss Man'. Their blues roots get a lot of coverage tonight as they are pushing their album 'Meet Me In Bluesland', their second collaboration with Chuck Berry's old piano player Johnnie Johnson. Recorded a few years before he passed on we got songs like 'Walking With The Wolf' in tribute with lead guitarist Greg Martin showing all his Clapton influences with some searing lead breaks.

kentucky headhunters

The Headhunters have always been keen on throwing in a few covers in a set and tonight they show their love for the classic British sounds with a heartfelt cover of The Animals' 'House Of The Rising Sun'. They added a spirited(if you'll pardon the pun) version of 'Spirit In The Sky' which perfectly suits their jaunty, sub-country treatment and taking the covers thing to what is a logical conclusion if you are familiar with the world of The Kentucky Headhunters 'The Ballad Of Davy Crockett' gets a less than traditional arrangement including some end of tour fun with Bad Touch drummer George Drewry taking over from Fred Young so he can go upfront and add some vocals.

Fred is of course Richard's brother and is a terrific drummer, showing huge power and some subtle dexterity despite the grey hair. He cuts an interesting figure too with sideburns as long as a ZZ Top beard and when a See You Jimmy novelty hat is placed on his head it doesn't seem out of place. I could have done without the drum solo though, something I say at every gig I see one.

kentucky headhunters

The highlights of the show for me though were the classic bouncy boogie tunes which made their name in the US. 'It's Chitlin' Time', 'Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine' and 'Dumas Walker' are the reasons I got to into this band in the first place and sounded just as good thirty years on with Doug Phelps cultured southern vocals leading the way over some terrific chicken scratch guitar. Definite "yee-haw" moments.

The evening ended with more end of tour fun with a mash up of 'Don't Let Me Down' and 'Hey Jude' allowing both bands on stage for a final tour singalong. This was a really good gig and I hope I don't have to wait until 2040 or thereabouts for the next one from the fabulous headliners.

Bad Touch

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The Kentucky Headhunters

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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