Fast-rising Southern Rockers Whiskey Myers embarked on the UK leg of their European tour last night. HRH Mag‘s Simon Rushworth was there.

 

Just when did Whiskey Myers graduate from the wide-eyed wannabes of Southern Rock into the fully-fledged headline act who owned the first night of their European tour? Not so long ago this too-cool-for-school collective were opening up for then label mates The Cadillac Three and tentatively feeling their way around the UK’s clubs with all the self-confidence of a teenager sipping his first shot of neat Bourbon.

The band might have released their US debut way back in 2008 but cracking the market on this side of the Pond came with its own pressures and a degree of pain. A relatively lukewarm response to 2014’s Early Morning Shakes hardly helped but with the strident backing of UK label Spinefarm – and brilliant new album Mud under their belts – it seems Whiskey Myers have suddenly found the self-belief to complement their celebratory anthems.

A sell-out crowd and stunning two-hour set reaffirmed the view that the teasingly good Texans are on a roll. Cody Cannon, constantly fiddling with his earpiece during a frustrating opening 15 minutes, might have complained that the mix wasn’t quite right and that his band was ‘winging this shit’ but there were few complaints from the floor.

Quite the opposite. There’s so much love for Whiskey Myers right now that Cannon and co. could have played Lynyrd Skynyrd covers all night and still bagged a standing ovation.

Guitar heroes John Jeffers and Cody Tate have the looks and the hooks that legends were built on: the hirsute pair boast the full package and flank their singer like steadfast guardians of Southern Rock’s proud and enduring legacy. The genre is safe in their hands.

Choosing to close the main set with a seemingly out of place Seven Nation Army might have been a brave move on any other night. But this was Whiskey Myers’ night. Such was the kickass quality that had gone before, the band could do what they wanted, when they wanted and without reproach. And they did. As it happened, a killer cover of The White Stripes’ classic oozed conviction and sealed the deal.

Earlier Swansea’s finest, Buffalo Summer, had set the bar predictably high and Whiskey Myers will need to be at their brilliant best to keep pace with an opening act renowned for taking no prisoners.

A criminally short 25-minute set meant the Welsh dragons were finished barely before they’d started but even so there was time for a bullish rendition of Heart Breakin’ Floor Shakin’ and a typically groove-laden version of live favourite Down By The River. The Buffalo stance is rock out and rock hard: Whiskey Myers – and any misguided latecomers – have been warned.