Hiss Golden Messenger led by Mike ‘MC’ Taylor hail from Durham, North Carolina and tonight he is joined on stage by arguably the finest incarnation of the band with Brad and Matt driving the rhythm and the multi-talented Phil Cook on lead electric guitar, acoustic, harp and anything else he could probably turn his musical hand to.
I have reviewed HGM a few times before and they never fail to impress. Despite Mike’s protestations he is a fine songwriter sharing his thoughts about those things that matter, love, life and everything. And with this band behind him it all seems so effortless.
The set tonight is drawn in the main from his last album the excellent ‘Hallelujah Anyhow’ and a bunch of new songs which they are about to record all of which hold up with the reminder of the catalogue.
There’s a great mix of light and shade switching between electric and acoustic throughout the night but sometimes the constant retuning between songs does break the rhythm and flow of the night. That gripe aside there’s room tonight for my favourites ‘Jenny of the Roses’ ‘Jesus shot me in the head’ and the funky ‘Southern Grammar’.
There’s ample opportunity on the electric numbers for both MC and especially Phil to show they really have the licks playing off each other like a folky roots Richards and Wood. (Ed’s note. Checkout Phil Cooks solo stuff and his excellent new gospelly ‘People are my Drug’).
It’s a perfect way to end a fun night bringing it down a notch from the raucous White Denim. Two bands, two venues, two contrasting but in the quality of music similar shows
Until the next time keep on rockin y’all