On the Payroll – Hoedown for the people. Featuring Odd Todd, Kentucky Cow Tippers and Pete David & The Payroll Union.
“Apparently some millionaires who live in England are having a kickabout with some millionaires from Spain. I’m on the edge of my seat… about to turn the telly off cos I fucking hate football”- Russ Palmer on that fateful Saturday.
After the chaotic fun that was the last On the payroll – a hoedown for the people (plug – still coughing up hay), it was a no-brainer to go to another jaunty barndance (communitycentredance?) to the tunes of Americana and bluegrass. It was a fine Saturday Evening so far.
Seeing that many a punter wouldn’t come due to some silly shit involving men, grass and a re-telling of the Battle of Gravelines on the telly, Odd Todd pulled out a fiddle and a cajón and started to do some folky instrumental country music, just to get the jamboree started. It’s hard to talk about their set with only words, but suffice to say, it was the warm-up required for the possibility of a dancing marathon afterwards. Stylish looks to boot.
Kentucky Cow Tippers were an interesting bunch. They certainly know how to keep the ball rolling and once the harmonica hits the airwaves, there’s no stopping down the momentum. They sported a resonator being played like a lap steel guitar and the sliding notes were pretty cool. They looked young (“like twelve” – Orestes) but they were pretty ace in playing their stuff, never missing the beat, never slowing down and thoroughly entertaining. They went into the swapping instruments routine and seeing them deftly play whatever they could get their paws on was also cool.
Meanwhile, not more than two swallow’s flights away, that is, many miles away ,something crawls from the slime at the bottom of Wembley stadium. Or a Scottish lake.
Hosting band Pete David & The Payroll Union, well dressed as ever, wanted to say their part now. Starting out with ‘Jake the pistol’, they followed with ‘Julia died of Cholera’ (I wonder if they played Oregon Trail when they were younger).
Their songs are about betrayals, shootings, weird westerns, history, women and saloon brawls (no Val Kilmer, though). ‘There’s a light’ is always a good tune to dance to, even if you are as nimble as a drunk manatee.
Regarding their new songs, they seem to be building upon their own sound, with ‘Old Rebel Sue’ being sort of the sister song to the equally bleak and magical ‘Ghosts’ (my fave from their EP). They know how to balance a set list between the downbeat and slow and the downbeat but happy (‘There’s a light’ is utterly danceable even if the subject matter is pretty grim).
The encore was ‘Whiskey in my whiskey’ and the small crowd joined in with some lighters and then more dancing. Sure beats watching a 90 minutes of grass being ironed by a ball and walking billboards.
Sorry to be banging about how empty it was due to a stupid football match, but I can’t fathom the idea of people preferring to sit down and watch 22 seminaked dudes chasing an ovoid. I really can’t.
Okay, that was it, music wise, no more blathering about. So, besides the fact that people had their priorities wrong (football over music? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills…oh, wait, I am), there was a steady flow of hot dogs (complete with a “getcher hot dogs” Noo-Yahk stylee yell), some proper ale (cask and all) that was delicious (Anvil Porterl!) and quite a few people were sporting their snazziest clothes.
Even if there was a lack of humans prancing around, the people in the audience was having fun and quite a few danced and had fun, even shanghaiing people into dancing when they are just mere spectators taking photos. Oh, the humanity.
Let’s hope there’s a rapture or summink during the next hoedown. First, it would be a better excuse and second, the attendants would be spared. God don’t ruin no barndances, yo!
PS: I wonder if I’ll ever be at a hoedown with this song?