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With so many of the established bands constantly touring, it can be a struggle sometimes to make time to check out new acts. However, the promise of a rare night of southern rock at the 100 Club was a perfect opportunity to do so.

Snake Oil Rattlers, photo by Andy Nathan

Three bands graced the inaugural night of 'southern live', or as one of the comperes said 'the first in a series of probably one'. What was most impressive was that the three covered a wide variety of musical bases. Anglo-Canadian openers the Snake Oil Rattlers took me by surprise with traditional instruments such as mandolins and dobros to the fore, in preference to much electric guitar. They peddled a brand of outlaw country with some bluegrass mixed in, influenced by Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt, and including a cover of Skynyrd's Made in the Shade, in a set that got rockier as it went along.

Elias T Hoth, photo by Andy Nathan

Next up from Manchester were Elias T Hoth, who looked and sounded more like a biker band. I was rather put off by the lead singer's rough, Lemmy- esque vocals, not to mention his likeness to football manager Paul Jewell, and yet I grew to enjoy catchy straight ahead rockers such as Mississipi's Burning, Hex on You, Wanted by the FBI, and set closer Rollin' Thunder. Special mention too to their guitarist who was a good 20 plus years younger than the rest of the band but highly impressive.

Melonheadman, photo by Andy Nathan

Melonheadman, a seven piece, from Kent headlined and were the most assured of all the performers, while singer and guitarist Simon Savage, aka Dr Decimus Crow, was a wild eyed bearded loon.

With influences like the Allman Brothers, Black Crowes and some of the nineties jam bands, they created a great vibe, although the songs were not as strong: it was frustrating that the only one that lodged in my head was a cover of Don't Dog Me by Raging Slab, reminding me to check out those underrated southern rockers.

There was a decent crowd in attendance and seemingly good camaraderie between the bands. While none of them individually specifically floated my boat, it was a highly enjoyable evening which I hope becomes a regular event.

Review and photos by Andy Nathan

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