The quiffs and flattops of Glasgow were out, if not quite in force, to witness the latest coming of Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom, who is still presiding over the stand-up kit, rocking the leathers and, indeed, looking slim 30 years on from his band’s brief chart reign.
His partners in twang on this venture are guitarist Darrel Higham and bassist Al Gare, both time-served rockabilly ravers in Imelda May’s band.
The Kat Men are dedicated to pastiching rather than reliving the country, blues, jazz and nascent rock’n’roll of the 1950s with a set of mainly original material to feature on a forthcoming album. As was to be expected, they displayed a faithful feel for that era, but the abandoned, punk energy of the time was largely missing from their performance.
Higham took a disciplined and precise approach to rockabilly guitar. He is not the fieriest of singers either, but, on being encouraged to “gie it laldy” after a polite start, he launched straight into the classic rock’n’roll riffola of Watch Your Mouth, followed by the swing of You Shouldn’t Have Said That.
It wasn’t all about tongue-lashing. Slim Jim stroked the tom on the more low-slung All In Good Time, while their Johnny Cash tribute was spare and strutting. But nothing jumped and jived as much as the old Stray Cats tune Rock This Town, which was accompanied by Jim’s fond memories of the contraband weaponry confiscated from the audience when they played the Glasgow Apollo. Ah, the good old days.
A cover of Johnny Burnette’s Rockabilly Boogie elicited some bopping at the front of the crowd and, following their own lyrical assertion that “we need Elvis back”, they concluded with a reasonable rendition of the King’s A Big Hunk O’ Love.
Rating: * * *
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West