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Concert Review: Lords of the Highway and The Whiskey Daredevils

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Have you ever been to the Tequila Ranch in Cleveland’s warehouse district? Until August 10, I hadn’t. So when I heard the Lords of the Highway and The Whiskey Daredevils were playing, I didn’t think anything of it. Then I got there.

The warehouse district sort of reminds me of San Diego’s Gas Lamp quarter — a nice place for a proper night out on the town. By proper, I mean dressed reasonably well, paying for over-priced food, and drinking martinis instead of beer, know what I mean? Didn’t exactly seem like the sort of place to see two bands that revel in their white trash, just barely removed from hillbilly, persona –- no disrespect to hillbillies, I happen to consider myself one.

Walking into the “Ranch” didn’t help my opinion much either. Man, this was the type of place your momma used to smack you upside the head before you went in telling you to keep your hands in your pockets because she didn’t want to pay for anything you break.

Nestled all the way in the back, off to the left and up behind the bar, was the stage. When I say up behind the bar, I mean up; I had to crane my neck to see the bands. Anyway, enough of the bellyaching, let’s talk about the bands.

First up were the Lords of the Highway who drip swagger and sexuality as Dennis Bell slings the axe, the ever coy Sugar slaps the dog-house bass and newly added drummer Joey Hissam pounds the kit.

Joey looked like he was still learning the Lords’ repertoire as he seemed just a bit uncomfortable behind his drums. Sugar kept looking back at him, pointing, smiling, and shouting words of encouragement.

Even with Joey’s apparent trepidation, the Lords ripped through their set full of the theatrics and the rollicking good times their shows are famous for — Dennis sneered, Sugar teased, and they sucked you in. I’ve seen a lot of stand-up bass players do some neat tricks with their bass but nothing compares to Sugar laid out, using her legs to hold the bass up, never missing a beat! Not only is this woman dangerous on the heart, she’s a hell of a beat slapper!

Wrapping up, the Lords quickly broke down their gear to make way for The Whiskey Daredevils. Now, I must be honest, I was at the show to see the Lords, but the Whiskey Daredevils impressed me considerably, though I’m still not sure how they all fit up on that small stage without constantly running into each other.

Nothing complicated about the band, they’re straight ahead rock-n-roll. Not that pop crap you hear on the radio these days but a throwback to the days when rock-n-roll was actually bad for you, back when it actually had an “I’ll kick your ass” attitude. Songs like “Waylon Jennings Shower” to get the bar and road stink off of you and “Let’s Lynch the Landlord” are their trademark and they play it well.

Both bands are constantly playing Cleveland and around the state, get out there and see them!

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