Imagine it is midday on a Sunday the day after the night before, if you know what I mean! You are going to see a band that you have heard of and know that they play their own version of Southern Rock but are not too sure what to expect. Well that was me at Planet Rocks Winters End this year.
Up on stage came David Roux on guitar and lead vocals, Ryan Smith on drums/ percussion and vocals, Stephen Welch on banjo and Alex Barter on double bass and vocals and you find yourself wondering what is going to happen. For a start that double bass has an alligator’s head firmly attached the top of the neck and Steven who plays the banjo doesn’t look old enough to be on stage. However, from the moment the first chords were struck the place was buzzing.
What The Outlaw Orchestra are brilliant at doing is creating a party atmosphere with enough tongue in cheek humour combining effortlessly with great songs that make even the hardest hearted people move their feet and nod in time. It must have been a great gig as the line at the merch desk took over 2 hours to clear and wiped them out of merch!
The sound is a unique blend which showcases the musical talent which each band member brings to the fold, having the musical maturity to mix high energy with moody soulful rock, they have drawn comparisons to early The Cadillac Three, Blackberry Smoke, The Allman Brothers Band, Whiskey Myers, The Faces, The Black Crowes and even Motorhead through to the Cosmic American country genre.
The band have been invited to play at this year’s C.R.O.W.S, a brand-new festival put on by the legendary HRH (Hard Rock Hell) alongside the likes of Ex-Georgia Satellites singer, Dan Baird and The Homemade Sin and Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman.
This is their new EP ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’, which has the backing of Cloven Hoof rum, and it kicks off in true The Outlaw Orchestra style highlighting the skills from Steven See You In Hell has the banjo up front and shining. This is a band who really want to see each member of the band have their time in the spotlight and get a kick from it. The banjo continues to have a very prominent position throughout the track, keeping the melody going. The addition of the boxy guitar and eloquent playing from Alex on double bass. The vocals have a sneer held within them which adds to the overall feel of the track. You cannot help but move your body as this track kicks in, rising to a great crescendo of instrumentation with a duel feel between banjo and bass. Who cannot help but love a band that blatantly take a melody from “Devil Woman” by Cliff Richard and then give it a banjo and guitar twist that has additional groove from a double bass.
Laughing All The Way To The Gallows blasts in with some beautiful drumming from Ryan which lead you into the body of the track. The whole band gets involved in the chorus works really well, adding richness. This is a fast paced track with thundering drumming flowing with energetic guitar, the double bass and banjo bring additional depth to the track. The vocals have a feel of a smile within them which is really engaging. This track has a light-hearted nature but with some very serious capability from both the vocals and the playing of the instruments.
Rhythmic cow bell heralds start of then final track on the EP. Back To Georgia has a great rhythm that instantly makes your feet start to tap. With a good amount of gravel in the vocals combining with the buzzy guitars and very competent banjo playing this is a track that puts a smile on your face, the double bass adds additional texture and the drumming throbs. There is a real swagger on this track which is about a true life incident of having to change a tyre before heading back to Georgia. The lyrics have a cheeky feel which somehow is replicated by the guitar, double bass and banjo. It just makes you want to swing your hips and dance with a huge smile on your face.
So I would urge you to go and see The Outlaw Orchestra if they are playing anywhere close to you. I guarantee that you will have a fantastic night, like the perfect party with friends, with great music playing that does not take it self too seriously. You will come away shattered from all the dancing and laughing from all the on stage antics but will be sad that it is over and will really want them to continue to play for another 3 or 4 hours!
Grab yourself a copy of the EP, put it on and let the music make you smile and brighten your day.
I was also lucky enough to get some interview questions answered by The Outlaw Orchestra and they really show the humour and the camaraderie of the band. Please take a moment to read that as well …. You will end up with a big smile on your face.