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Live Review: Brian Setzer

3 April 2012 | 6:54 am | Staff Writer

Lanie Lane's spaghetti-billy style of country and rock was perfect from the first note. The now familiar tracks from her 2011 album, To The Horses, showcased her vocal range from sex kitten squeak to tigress growl, with Like Me Meaner and Bang Bang crowd favourites. The new track, written on the road with Aidan Roberts, seemed to walk nearer the rock line musically, but still had a quirk and a hook for Lane's broad vowels to hang from. Throughout the set, her jazz-schooled band held things tight and let her scrawling tones captivate a packed Enmore.

Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot must have filled the room with every swing, rock'n'roll and rockabilly original and revivalist in Sydney, as there was no room to swing a cat, or his kitten. A mix of tributes and Stray Cats classics, there was Cash, Perkins, Lewis and a moving dedication to the recently departed Earl Scruggs. A veteran of the rockabilly scene, Setzer showed no signs of ageing with lyrics from '49 Mercury Blues capturing his ethos: “I'm too young to quit/ Too old to change”. His voice was as strong as ever and his strumming demonstrated a speed and dexterity usually seen only in metal bands. It was all-out party time through Rumble In Brighton, Stray Cat Strut and Cry Baby, with feet on the piano, knee-slide solos, a quick yodel and the stand-up drums and trash can of Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom.

During the extended wanderings of Fishnet Stockings the upright bass antics began. First a speed slap solo, then a behind the head Hendrix-style, sitting on top, climbing all over, lying down on the ground, all the while keeping a bad-arse baseline. Then came the second upright bass. Duelling basses, including the Deliverance riff, built into a face-off swap slap that looked crazy and sounded hot. Things were getting wild when Setzer himself walked out with a third upright bass. The jumping and jousting was unbelievable, creating a rock music moment in history for the lucky Enmore crowd.

With a genuine reluctance to end the night, the lads stayed on stage to lead the crowd in a sing and clap along to the music playing as the house lights went on. As Setzer himself put it, “We may not be the best band in the world, but we're sure as hell the best band on the block tonight!”

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