Molly Hatchet – LIVE: Islington Academy, London 2011

artist website
European Tour
December 12 (21:35-23:00)
Capacity 800
Several cancelled-before-they-went-on-sale European tours have meant it’s been a very long time since Molly Hatchet last played a show in London, or in the UK at all in fact, and really in that time they probably should have tried to hook up with another classic southern rock band to pull off a comprehensive tour.

But that’s not happened so far, and they finally got themselves some headlining club shows with Wisconsin bluesman Mojo Perry in support. Having arrived late (and had reportedly been arriving late for most shows on the tour) Molly Hatchet held up soundcheck so long that Perry couldn’t have one, so he spent the first couple of songs of his set getting his guitar sound right. It didn’t take long for his trio to find their groove though and, mostly playing songs from Perry’s forthcoming new album, they kept the crowd thoroughly entertained for their 50-minute set, highlighted by Perry’s leads on his famous cigar box guitars under the watchful and appreciative eye of Hatchet front-man Phil McCormack, and garning the biggest repsonse, unsurprisingly, for a cover of the Hendrix classic Voodoo Child (Slight Return).

Having restricted Perry, the only support act, to just 50 minutes, somehow Molly Hatchet still managed to take the stage late, forcing themselves to drop their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird and shorten Fall of The Peacemakers. They still found room for Scott Craig’s laborious drum solo though.

In contrast to their set at the Sweden Rock Festival in June, founding guitarist Dave Hlubek seemed far more enthusiastic and generally pleased to be playing, frequently joining Bobby Ingram at the front of the stage to engage with the crowd. The set itself ended up largely the same as the Summer one as well, with just The Journey and Live Til I Die dropped for The Creeper, American Pride and Boogie No More. They enjoyed the same sonic clarity again, with a thick guitar tone (Justice sounded simply huge) and suitably moderated bass and drums (these are usually too loud for many bands), but depending on position in the venue the guitars were sometimes very unbalanced, usually resulting in Hlubek’s drowning out Ingram’s. John Galvin’s keyboards were largely lost too.

McCormack was in fine voice, but the overriding factor was how brief the show felt (although in actual fact 85-minutes is pretty respectable as set lengths go). That might have been alayed if they’d been on time and not carried on like nothing was wrong when they eventually did start playing, but it’s hard to argue with their performance. Maybe now if they make it a slightly more regular occurance there’s probably little stopping them becoming a highly respected live force in Europe.

“ McCormack was in fine voice ”

Mojo Perry Setlist: Trouble / Night Time / Slow Down / Sittin’ On A Park Bench / 20 Dollar Bill / Back Door Man / Tobacco Road / Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Intermission

Molly Hatchet Setlist: Whiskey Man / Bounty Hunter / Gator Country / American Pride / Fall of The Peacemakers / Justice / Drum Solo / Beatin’ The Odds / In The Darkness of The Night / The Creeper / Been To Heaven – Been To Hell / Jukin’ City / Dreams I’ll Never See // Boogie No More / Flirtin’ With Distaster

Photo(s): Andy Lye