This Rockpalast gig marked the end of a curse on the Molly Hatchet band. Their label had been fucking them around for more than five years and so they jumped ship ('bout damn time, boys!) to record Devil's Canyon, which put 'em back on the map. By that time, however, lead singer Danny Joe Brown had to exeunt due to problematic diabetes, among darker matters, leaving not a single founding member in the ensemble. Fans of the band, however, could have cared less, because each incarnation of the bad boys from Jacksonville kept to the traditions of the basic incarnation and rocked the fuck out of the house. When you lay an ear to the CD and eyeballs to the DVD, you'll see precisely why.
The growly voiced new front man Phil MacCormack was an ideal choice, belting out in a deep shouting Southern intonation very much in line with the band's roots. The old 3-guitar format was by this time gone but Bobby Ingram and Bryan Bassettt more than hold their own in the concert's dynamic exposition, bassist Andy McKinney pushing 'em up even further. The first minute or so of the concert is a bit of a bitch, what with the sound man still figuring what the hell was going on and the band trying to cope with that, but it's soon knocked and the sextet (plus two part-time backing vocalists) drops right into a churning groove with the good ol' Bounty Hunter song and stays there. And the gents aren't exactly the anemic Brit picture of rock heroes—hell, the Hatchet dawgz miss very few dinner bells, I'm telling you right now—and when they pound the stage, they do damage, underscoring the hard rockin' erupting from the P.A. system. It's particularly ticklimg when a mass of confederate flags starts unfurling in the audience…in Germany at the Loreley!
More than a few of these cookin' cuts are rock 'n roll shitkickers, git-down blow-outs meanin' to raise the roof even in that open air theater, injecting fire in the blood and whiskey through the backbone. For MacCormack's very first gig with the fellas, he took command nicely and the rest of the ruff-cut roustabouts gave him good reason to, playing their hearts out to a very receptive audience. Once you hear this gig's version of Devil's Canyon, you'll know why the LP rocketed up the kraut charts. The bastards play like they're 25 years old, not the later gators they are. Not a minute's wasted here, the stage choked with kudzu, spanish moss, and a harvest moon bouncing around all the music, heat billowing from the stage, bayou waters lapping at edges of vision. Though the DVD's well worth catching, I have to say the CD works extremely well too, missing nothing in the absent visuals, a disc for blasting the doors off yer F-150 on the way to Birmingham to down a sixer with the crew.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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