By Tex Ritter Jnr
Another momentous musical occasion took place Tuesday night, with the first ever solo UK concert by Webb Wilder, Last of the Full Grown Men.
It would be an overstatement to say that the Cluny 2 was packed to the rafters. An audience of maybe 50, of which about 10 were die hard Wilderians, with the remainder more like interested onlookers.
Nevertheless, this was an eagerly awaited event and another coup for local musical impresario Graham Shipcote.
Those of you familiar with the Webb Wilder credo will know why...
Wear Glasses If You Need Them
If there is a more inspirational rallying call in popular music, then I have yet to hear it. But I digress…
Turning to the gig, WW as he is known, was travelling pretty light. He was using a borrowed Gibson guitar, which resisted all attempts at tuning. In addition, his merchandise, which was scheduled to be delivered direct to the venue, had gone astray. He was however, replete with his trademark pork pie hat. Looking around the room, he quickly realised that this would not be a bumper payday.
In the end, none of this mattered. Mixing songs from his classic back-catalogue and critically acclaimed new release “Mississippi Moderne”, Webb entertained his audience with a one man rock’n’roll show, replete with anecdotes from his Mississippi childhood and time in the music business.
Acknowledging that his audience consisted of a “certain demographic”, he recalled the time when signed to Island Records, he was sent out as support to Melissa Etheridge. The theatres may have been packed, but they did not know what to make of the Last of the Full Grown Men…
The music swung from rock to country and back to rockabilly, and WW without his band, turned in a superb display of guitar playing. The audience loved it. There were surely many converts gained this night, some of whom may even make it to Webb Fest 2016. Yes, folks, there is a Webb Fest…
He encored with two favourites “Poolside”, and “Carrying the news to Mary”, taken from the classic albums “It came From Nashville” and “Acres of Suede” respectively. Then, as suddenly as he had appeared, he was gone.
Fortunately, he had discovered a cache of copies of “Mississippi Moderne” in his hand luggage, and was able make a few bucks selling merchandise to the true Wilderians. And even though I already had a copy, your reviewer queued again to purchase a signed one and help keep live music on the road.
In a typically Webb like post script, it turns out that he picked up a £60 parking fine at his hotel the following day, thereby eliminating any small profit from the gig…
Ah well, Work hard, Rock hard…