The Knockouts are straight ahead psychobilly rock and roll, feeling slightly stifled but warming up towards the end of the set. Strangely similar in delivery to old Ska band, the Selecter, their material is fairly paint by numbers, simple and uncomplicated conjuring images of Smokey bars in the American deep south, surrounded by far too much leather and cigarette smoke if it hasn't been banned yet?
Gentle Ben and his sensitive side features Ben from 6ft hick on lead vocals showing his, well, unsurprisingly, sensitive side. Only the hardcore 6ft Hick Fans (or the hardcore Ben fans, who knows) are really into the set, down in front of the stage, gently bobbing away, which is a great shame, because all the tough nuts behind them filling up on beer and talking too loudly are missing a set of diverse and finely crafted songs. A freaky and schizophrenic combination of Pulp, Razorlight and Nick Cave, the set reveals a fine songsmith who can actually sing very well, managing to form some wonderfully dark and sparse songs that reveal a slightly softer side, but still not exactly sensitive with lyrics such as 'I'll see you in the Car park√Æ showing the Ben that everyone knows and loves lurking just beneath the surface of his red silk shirt.
If you have any doubt whether the spirit of rock and roll is dead, suffocated by the shrink-wrapped, mass manufactured and marketed music machine then catch a 6ft hick show. This is rock in its raw, dirty, sweaty and filthy form, a 6ft hick show feels like a fight, the battle lines are drawn between them and the prissy wooses who claim to play rock. The band drink, spit, fart, swear, shout and bleed their way through the show and couldn't give two branding plans if you like it or not. The dual vocals of Ben and Geoffro add to the conflict with each singer contributing their own unique style. Geoffro glares at the crowd in a drunken haze, rubbing his belly and spewing nonsense between songs. Ben Bounds around like a man possessed, touching himself, jump kicking, flying into the audience and generally wooing the crowd with his impressively chiselled body. Dr Dan on guitar looks like a malevolent devil, slyly grinning resplendent in a trimmed beard and bright red shirt. Tony on bass looks like an extra from a zombie movie, pale, gaunt but pounding his bass like he's switched sides and is now exterminating the creatures of the night. Fred on drums is everyone's least favourite Uncle, he claims to hate everyone so must have all their faces glued to his drum skins, whacking them with venom and gusto.
If you're into real Rock & Roll, then catch a 6ft Hick show, if you're more concerned about the cut of your jeans or your haircut then stay away, you'll probably get hurt.
Published in InPress