The Kentucky Headhunters – Robin 2, Bilston – 2nd October 2017

With The Kentucky Headhunters’ Richard Young having combatted his fear of flying when he came to see and open for his son’s band Black Stone Cherry in summer 2016; 2017 sees the band return to the UK and being reunited with the same support band, the UK’s Bad Touch, for a run of shows, including a return to the Robin 2 in Bilston.

 Good time rock’n’rollers Bad Touch get the assembled crowd in the mood straight away with opener ‘My Mother Told Me’. Stevie Westwood’s vocals are great and he certainly shines tonight. Planet Rock radio favourite ‘99%’ has certainly seen Bad Touch gain a new crowd of fans and tonight they are not left disappointed, with this radio favourite being one of the highlights of their set. Bad Touch get better each time we see them, as with each new show they are honing their craft. There are great things yet to come from this band we are sure.

The wonderful thing about The Kentucky Headhunters is that they are like putting on a comfy pair of slippers, you are at ease in their presence, and their music fills you with a warmth that is only garnered from those from America’s south. It was during their cover of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ that singer/bassist Doug Phelps’ voice really shone through.

 Their latest album ‘Safari’ was recorded between their two UK visits and following the death of Richard and Fred Young’s father. They played a couple of songs off this new release including the upbeat, fun ‘God Loves a Rolling Stone’. Other songs such as ‘Stumblin’’ were taken from their ‘Meet Me In Bluesland’ album, recorded with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee pianist Johnnie Johnson, not long before he also died. ‘Have You Ever Loved a Woman’ from the album ‘Soul’ built to a heart wrenching crescendo and guitar solo, before they played the great fun song ‘My Daddy Was A Milkman’. Richard confessed that although it’s a song about milking cows, they themselves have never milked a cow.

Fred Young’s drum solo was impressive purely for the amazing power that he gets out of such fluid wrist movements, particularly in his left hand. Watching him play you can see where his nephew Black Stone Cherry’s John Fred has learnt his craft, even more so when you have the whole band together.

They dipped back to the aforementioned blues album before rounding off the night with a run of covers from ‘Spirit In The Sky’, into ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and finally ‘Hey Jude.’ The Kentucky Headhunters are a really good band, with a good front man and good music and you really cannot ask for more than that.

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About Heather Fitsell

I have been photographing bands predominantly in the London area since 2008. I have photographed in venues as small as pubs and as big as Manchester MEN arena. I have photographed local bands and the likes of Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy, Black Stone Cherry, Alterbridge, Evanescence and many more. I have also photographed at Hevy Fest for the last two years and previously ran my own webzine, before I decided to focus more on my photography.