Supporting the main event tonight at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham iss an acoustic set from Richards/ Crane, a project between the Ugly Kid Joe front man and Lee Richards, formerly the guitarist for Godsmack. Up next Aussie rockers Hail Mary step things up a gear, unfortunately I got to the venue just as the band were performing their final song, a huge shame as what I did hear was exceptionally good.
American rockers Ugly Kid Joe burst on stage following a funky, rudely worded hip hop track (quite possibly N.W.A). The band must have succumbed to the heat as drummer Shannon Larkin parades onstage wearing nothing but a pair of red pants meaning that as soon as he climbs behind his drum kit he looks practically naked. Joining him, lead vocalist Whitfield Crane, alongside Cordell Crockett on bass and Dave Fortman on guitar duties proceed to deliver a tour-de-force of rock n roll.
Without delay ‘Neighbor’ is performed as the opening song, hailing from way back in the early nineties. ‘Panhandlin prince’ , ‘so damn cool’ and ‘goddamn devil’ are played from their iconic debut album America’s least wanted. The band’s style of staying true to what they play and an admirable unwavering devotion to parodying the world of music keeps the diehard fans happy. Just before ’Jesus rode a Harley’ is performed Whitfield shares a genuine moment with his childhood friend and guitarist Klaus Eichstadt in which he extends his arm in a ‘check out this crowd’ gesture to which the pair smile and continue on with the show. They announce that this is the band’s first appearance at Nottingham’s rescue rooms and a gentle plug that the new album, ‘uglier than they used ta be’, has been released today.
Sounding exactly how you would expect them to be, there is a hint of nostalgia but a lot promise for the new material such as ’She’s already gone’ and ‘hell ain’t hard to find’. The venue has become a very sweaty smelly pit, however romance looms in the air as a proposal and acceptance for a happy couple is announced before sing along classic ’Cats in the cradle’ is endearingly performed. The band explain they don’t have time to leave and be coaxed back on stage because of noise restrictions and an imposed strict curfew of 10pm. A solution is formed to place towels over their heads after asking the crowd to show appreciation pretending they had just left. It’s a different approach but anything that extends performance time is all good by me. There’s no other option at an Ugly Kid Joe show and the encore has to be ‘Everything about you’.
The final track of the night is introduced as their all time favourite and most influential song, from the one and only Motorhead. A fast and frantic spin is applied to a cover of classic track Ace of spades causing a sea of hair flowing like a furry restless sea. All in all, it is a blistering evening of pure rock energy, fueled by nostalgia but dominated by the power of great music.
Set list/ intro/,neighbour/Jesus rode a Harley/C.U.S.T/panhandling prince/she’s already gone/no one survives/devils paradise/cats in the cradle/I’m alright/milkman’s son/goddamn devil/hell aint hard to find/so damn cool/V.I.P/ everything about you/Ace of spades
photos by sean larkin