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14th November 2016

Live: The Cadillac Three

Straight outta Nashville, The Cadillac Three thrill with more power than even mighty Zeus could handle, writes Jeni Lambert

5th November at O2 Ritz


On 5th November, The Cadillac Three released the kicking mule that is their Don’t Forget The Whiskey tour into the UK and I can most certainly confirm that not a single soul had forgotten their whiskey. The venue was synonymous to a Jack Daniel’s steam room as the crowd’s plastic chalices of whiskey and coke permeated the air like a fine Tennessee perfume.

Supporting act Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown set the house alight with a tempestuous brew of blues, punk and take-no-prisoners rock’n’roll, demonstrating their talent in balancing on the shoulders of giants like Muddy Waters with the ease of a seasoned alley cat.

In lukewarm pursuit, The Cadillac Three took to the stage without their usual authoritative stride, a discordant air of hesitancy in their performance. Lyrics were lapsed, beats were skipped and eye contact was averted.

Charmingly bashful frontman Jaren Johnston swiftly apologised, emphasising that the band were suffering from sleep deprivation. However, by the time their fire was sufficiently fed by the crowd’s relentless cheers, ‘Tennessee Mojo’ conjured a tornado to send Dorothy and Toto way outta Kansas. From here on in, we were thrown headfirst into a raw blend of Johnston’s lip-biting riffs, Kelby Ray’s exquisite lap steel guitar slides and Neil Mason’s thunderous Tarzan-meets-Joey-Kramer percussion.

After delivering several lightning bolts straight from Zeus’ stash in the form of tracks such as ‘I’m Southern’ and ‘Back It Up’, the set simmered down into calmer waters in the form of ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Runnin’ Red Lights’.

The levee to Johnston’s soul had broken by this point, every ounce of him flowing into his microphone as he growled his lyrical master class in southern state culture. Senior professors in neo-southern music, The Cadillac Three truly proved they are worth their salt (+ lime + tequila).

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