Kevin Montgomery and the Road Trippers
Cornish Arms - 1 September 2005

Kevin Montgomery

It was a vision to bring a tear of joy to any fan of the Blue Brothers movie. A campervan parked out the front of the Cornish Arms right on the Gaza Strip, Sydney Road Brunswick. I had visions of that other great country band the Good Old Boys as they traipsed around from one disaster to another at the behest of Jake and Elwood.

But that was a cliché and there was not a hat or a milky bar cowboy in sight at the venue either in the meagre audience or the band. Just a high-octane country rock band, a front man with a pedigree with a stack on songs honed on the road as a solo performer.

Kevin Montgomery has toured here previously hitting the home concert circuit in between pub shows with former Maverick and Swag member Robert Reynolds. This time Montgomery brought a band to flesh out the songs and amp up the sound for the Gympie hordes and luckily for some make a visit south of the Murray Dixon line.

The act deserved a better audience than they got. It's a shame that it wasn't better attended. It doesn't bode well for a repeat performance or give the promoter any incentive to take a chance and promote other tours by other artists. Maybe it's the price of gas/petrol, maybe it was because it was a mid week gig, maybe it was the lack of advertising/promotion or that people were saving their money for football finals. Whatever it was, the crowd was sparse and if there is anything a band needs more than anything else it's a crowd to feed off in order to raise the energy levels.

The four piece Road Trippers and Montgomery struggled with the sound early but that improved as the night went on thanks to a hard working sound man or maybe it was because I moved to a different position in the room avoiding the bounce from the wall at the back of the room.

The band comprised of former Mavericks drummer Paul Deakin, Danny White on bass, playing guitar was Mick McAdam formerly of The Dukes, Steve Earles road band and he appears on the Exit O live album of the early nineties. Honorary Road Tripper for the tour was Aussie Graeme Griffith who laid down the sweet sonic pedal steel sounds. Whilst Montgomery changed broken guitar strings on two occasions the two guitarists ripped on a couple of instrumentals. McAdam also showed that he had more talent than a mere guitar slinger when he sang a song out front of the band.

After finally overcoming the sound problems, the longer the band played the better they gelled and the better they sounded. Running through his own songs in the band format Montgomery has enough charisma to hold the stage and he performed video hit Tennessee Girl but it was the closing number Not Fade Away a hit for Buddy Holley and still one of the best Rock and Roll songs of all time that delivered on the admission price.

The Aussie Winnebago was still parked out front as I walked outside and into the night. After checking it out it looked like a pretty good rig and a great way to drive around the country. Three seats out front in the cabin just like the original Good Old Boys. I bet these good old boys, the Road Trippers, had fun on the tour and the night, and I know I did.

Review by Peter O'Keefe 2005

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