THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS have been flying the flag for country rock for decades now. Now, all these years later, the band are still going strong and have hit our shores in support of last year’s On Safari. We caught the band’s show in Nottingham whilst our Photography Editor hit up the show in Manchester to see how the veteran rockers got on.
Half seven on a Tuesday evening and BAD TOUCH take the stage, complete with a few guitars, a drum kit, and a very bright shirt worn by singer Stevie Westwood. From the very first song, they are clearly enjoying themselves – dancing from lead singer during the guitar solos and smiles all round. There was a mix of some new material, slower and faster songs, there’s a classic rock feel to their sound, complete with powerful vocals and ballad choruses. BAD TOUCH completely filled the stage both with their presence and their sound, getting the audience moving with their cheerful rock. Powerful vocals, with a southern edge, catchy guitar riffs and uplifting drums all came together to create a great performance and a fantastic opening act.
THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS have had a long standing career playing blues infused rock that’s proudly American. They’ve always maintained a presence in the US, but for a few years stopped touring in the UK. This was until 2016, when they came over again for a headline tour, and clearly loved it since they’re back again now. Their set included songs from their entire career, from back in the 80s, right up to their last album, On Safari. They kicked off with a few of the slower songs in their repertoire, and gradually picked up the pace until everyone was moving along, singing and dancing. It was easy to believe you were in Kentucky. Powerful vocals filled the venue from lead singer, Doug Phelps with accompanying backing vocals from Richard Young, a extremely successful combination with strong accents that really infused the American feel. Included in the set list was a cover of House Of The Rising Sun which was very well received, got the audience singing and swaying along, later on they also covered Spirit In The Sky. Drummer Fred Young stole the audience’s attention during his solo which included bongo style playing on his kit, whilst the others stepped off stage to catch up on their beer consumption. Before the encore, they played Hey Jude during which they were joined on stage by BAD TOUCH, giving it a celebratory feeling. George Drewry even took over for Fred Young on the drums. Unfortunately, when THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS came back on for their encore, it felt a bit anticlimactic after Hey Jude.
See our photo gallery from THE KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS’ show in Manchester from Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography here: