In MUCH the same way that the original punk bands took inspiration from the lean lines and raw delivery of early rock’n’roll, so Oklahoma native JD McPherson has extrapolated his punk past into a burgeoning solo career performing his bone-shaking take on vintage rhythm’n’blues.
JD McPherson / Shiverin Sheiks
Oran Mor, Glasgow
To use 21st-century parlance, if that’s not too inappropriate in the company of these rockabilly cats, McPherson and his band got swag. Their “all rocking, no talking” set mainly revolved around swinging 1950s rock’n’roll, souped up with demonic piano, tasty organ licks and hep honking saxophone, but was equally arresting when pared it back to showcase some sultry harmonies or deliver the sexy low-slung blues of A Gentle Awakening.
McPherson, sporting a tartan tie to mark Burns night, was an engaging frontman, with an innate talent for both tearing it up and dialling it down vocally, while his double bassist Jimmy Sutton brought a Cramps-like abandon to his lead contributions.
Despite McPherson’s professed love for David Bowie, The Smiths and Wu Tang Clan, this was a strictly heritage set, but a winner all the same.
The Shiverin’ Sheiks provided complementary support. The foursome are veterans of a number of Glasgow garage bands and it showed in their tight grasp of the boss grooves, tremolo guitar, downright tunefulness and characterful harmonies of the era they were celebrating as well as in the naturally vibrant spirit of their playing.