Published On: Wed, Mar 8th, 2017

Whiskey Myers – The Dome, London

This Texan Southern-rock septet have wasted little time establishing themselves in the UK.

Their first headline show in London sold out weeks in advance, prior to which their only appearance this side of the pond was opening for The Cadillac Three in February.

The switch from a tight, 45-minute support slot to a full-on two-hour set gives Whiskey Myers room to stretch out, but that’s a mixed blessing. Frontman Cody Cannon is economical with the chat – ‘Hey’ is his only greeting before launching into Early Morning Shakes, and his stage presence lacks the bonhomie of Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr or Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three.

Instead, Cannon often looks like he’s spoiling for a dust-up, transforming tracks like Mud and Ballad Of A Southern Man from celebrations of the South into snarls of defiance. The crowd laps up Bar, Guitar And A Honky Tonk Crowd and On The River, although both Dogwood and Broken Window Serenade are songs crying out for some structure. Instead, the musicians run both tunes ragged by going in circles.

Whiskey Myers

As a unit, Whiskey Myers lack the improvisational instincts of the Tedeschi Trucks Band or Warren Haynes, and too often, their jams descend into formless noisemaking.

Guitarist John Jeffers only has one setting and that’s ‘LOUD’, which doesn’t always lend itself to the softer moments of the set, but there’s no resisting the catchy hook of Lightning Bugs And Rain or the bluesy boogie of Different Mold, the latter sung by lead guitarist Cody Tate.

An acoustic section built around Trailer We Call Home and Anna Marie lets fiddle player Jon Knudson really shine, Stone ticks the country songwriting boxes, referencing highways, Jesus and heartache, before they wrap the marathon set with How Far. There are moments to savour tonight, but also too many detours down bumpy dead-end roads.



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