Welcome to Wayne’s world - a world of outlaw carnies, trucker’s caps, drinkin, cussin’ and of course some pretty hardcore country music. Though the audience was small enough they made up for it in enthusiasm. Not too many locals though with fans from such diverse countries as Canada and Norway in attendance. They had a good time and Mr. Wayne delivered the goods in a nearly two hour set.
This time out he was ably supported by the rhythm section of Elmer Johnston on upright bass (with it’s White Trash Dating Service sticker on the side), Drummer John Keeley and Matthew Thomas on upright steel and Telecaster - often played simultaneously. It was Thomas’ birthday and he celebrated by playing his ass off. These guys can grace any stage from a small club to a festival and the evidence is on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK2wj-SKwlE)
Wayne has a way on stage that despite the image is friendly and fun. He has a big voice that give his songs a depth in the somewhat stripped down live setting. His Andy Gibson produced albums have a broader range and a more subtler delivery at times but here there is some raw energy to contend with that rarely lets up.
He has just released a new album Bad Hombre from which several songs were played including Hell Yeah, Stll Truckin’ and Mr. Bandana which sat alongside songs from his covers album that were examples of the Wayneification of such classics as Eric Clapton’s I Shot The Sheriff, Sympathy For The Devil from the Stones and Zeppelin’s Rock ’n’ Roll. There were a host his own songs from his albums as well as Workin’ Man, which was recorded by Hank 111 on his Damn Right, Rebel Proud album much to Wayne’s pleasure. 111 is an obvious hero. These were all well received as was Love Songs Suck which he said was the closest he had to a love song. This and other songs showed a disregards for the law (Fuck The Law being a case on point) and the laws of being PC. A word of warning - don't go if swear words offend you.
The joys of drug abuse were celebrated and condemned with Dope Train and Everything's Legal In Alabama (the latter with the advisory note of “just don’t get caught”). As well as a selection of road warrior songs from Till The Wheels Fall Off, Spread My Ashes On The Highway, Sam Tucker through to Hillbilly Heaven and the final song of the night the tale of murder and retribution that is Hanging Tree.
The band gave it loads despite having a power failure in the middle of the gig which did not seem to faze them as they picked straight back up when it came back on. Throughout we got his, by now, trademark Truck Horn sound as well as a number of "Hell Yeahs." Bob Wayne has made Europe his second home and hopefully will come back to play in Ireland again. His is an entertaining and effusive night out and again, it should be mentioned, that the band were right up there with him making everything happen in a way we don’t see to often. This was not the pose of the latent hair-metallers who graced the C2C stage but some real country music taken to the edge and delivered with passion. Hell yeah.
Review and photography by Stephen Rapid