Come with me children, to a dark and benighted time - an era before you could easily buy CDs by Scandinavian Kiss fans ... a time when grunge had cast an occasionally good but frequently horrid pall across the land ... a time when, to paraphrase the Supersuckers' song, rock'n'roll records weren't selling that year. This was around 1992, and apart from the Didjits - whose Rick Sims actually ended up in the Suckers for a spell - there just wasn't a lot of hard rock outside the bland mainstream (Guns’n’Roses, for instance), and what there was the province of bands little-known outside their home towns. Thus, for a lot of people, the Supersuckers were a cool anomaly (and not just on the Sub Pop label, which was the band's home at the time) and the band’s 1992 debut 'The Smoke of Hell' was a rare rock blast.

Times have changed – now you have your Hellacopters and Turbonegro, your Mutts and Grease Monkeys, your Michelle Gunn Elephant and Asteroid B-512, your Le Nombre and Chickens ... while for the most part it isn’t filling stadiums, hard rock isn’t an endangered species.

While other acts have supplanted them in the hearts and minds of a younger generation of rock lovers, the Supersuckers continue to rock out like the hardened veterans they are, with virtuosity derived from the stable core of Eddie Spaghetti, Ron Heathman and Dan Bolton – all on board since the band formed in 1988.

As is their wont, the Supersuckers kicked things off with a few country numbers, with Spaghetti on acoustic and Heathman on electric guitar. Johnny Cash’s 'Cocaine Blues' was first out of the gate "You don't need many reasons to play a song by this man these days" observed Spaghetti. I also recognized 'The Best of All Possible Worlds' by Kris Kristofferson.

They performed about a dozen tunes before being joined on stage by Bolton and new drummer Eric Akre. The band’s tough sound quickly had the crowd-packed house breaking bottles and moshing – the band’s roadie had a full time job shoving monitors back into place as the crowd flailed across the front of the stage. Such rambunctious behaviour is just par for the course - after asking the audience “are you fighting?!?” Spaghetti started a chant of “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Of course there were copious devil horns in evidence.

The quartet ripped through a 17-song set list before launching into an encore that included a cover of Thin Lizzy’s 'Jailbreak'.
They may not be the same singular beast they once were, but the Supersuckers still know how to rock a joint.

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Commenting On: Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, 22/4/2006 - Supersuckers

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