October 14, 2011
No, Suedehead is not a Morrissey cover band. Consisting of ex-Beat Union members and hailing from the UK, Suedehead takes its cues from the off-shoot of British skinhead culture by the same name that crosses paths with reggae, soul, mod and '70s glam.
The crowd of suits and skins looked like a cast of extras from This Is England and were warmed up by the Westside All-Stars, a phenomenal soul/reggae act that had the crowd moving and gave Suedehead a tough act to follow. Next up was a solo acoustic set by Gentlemen, who broke a guitar string and had to stop and fix it not once but twice. He gets an A for effort and sticking it out though, because it looked excruciating up there.
When Suedehead took the stage they had the crowd hooked right away. The Slidebar's small stage barely contained all seven members who managed to fill every inch of it with their energy. The rhythm guitarist spent the first song standing on the drum kit revving up the crowd and front man Davey Warsop lead the show with a kind of old school British rock charisma that was reminiscent of Eric Burdon or Paul Weller, he also wore incredibly tight pants (no complaints). They played everything off of their two EPs, the high lights including "New Traditions", "Small Town Hero" and "No Pain". Their style of high energy mod/soul infused blues rock was a genuine descendent of their influences, unlike some of their past peers who seem content to simply rest on the fashion. They ended the show on the highest note possible with an amazing cover of The Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'", showing that Suedehead is true to their roots and can pull it off perfectly.
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Although Suedehead is fairly new, and yet to release a full length album, the crowd knew their music and it was clear that they are already a staple of the Southern California mod and casual revival. The only downside was that their set seemed short. Although they played all of their material, the crowd could have easily gone for another house and it looked like the band could have as well. I think it's safe to say that everyone there Friday night is looking forward to more from Suedehead, and I'm it will be nothing short of "fucking brilliant".
Critic's bias: I'm a sucker for anything with a British 60s influence.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Wolfman is scary!" - Warsop yelled this a few times at the bass player during the Westside All-Stars set. Turns out he is also the current bass player for Suedehead and goes by Wolfman.
Notebook dump: I would drink a lot more at the Slidebar if there wasn't an hour wait for the bathroom.