"So who the hell is Warner E. Hodges?" is a question I always get. It says more about those asking than anything else really. Well, here we go again for the slo-mo crowd. The man is a guitar hero from the original cowpunk band Jason And The Scorchers, a legendary Nashville rock-punk-country band.
Warner's also been/is a member of several other bands. I've seen him live many times with Dan Baird And Homemade Sin and The Bluefields. I've also seen him solo with a different band, but this was the first time I got a chance to see him with his permanent UK-based solo band under the name Warner E. Hodges Band. The other band members are: Jason Knight (bass), John Powney (drums), Ben Marsden (guitar).
WEH Band just played the big Sweden Rock Festival in front of a large crowd the day before, so this little café gig at Folk Å Rock was a totally different rock game all together. The venue only holds maximum 150 guests and it was far from sold out. This was however not a problem at all. Warner and his boys were among old friends and dedicated fans and you can tell how much he loves Malmö and the people there. He keeps coming back and he always gives his all there.
The drummer was actually sick with the flu but in office Warner there is no time for being sick and the show must go on and so it did for more than 2 hours. I bet poor John was glad to see a hotel bed after that. Warner is the band leader and center of the show but you can clearly tell that they are all feeling like a band and love playing together. The 3 younger bandmembers all do a great job and they cover a wide span being able to play so many different styles of music and make it all blend together nicely.
Warner told several tales from the Covid years and beyond. One was a story about how he nearly got shot when a man pulled his gun against him outside a Home Depot store because Warner had told him to stop blaming an 18 years old doorman for enforcing the dreaded mask policy. Some people are really idiots. Thank the Gods of Rock n Roll, the man backed off and drove away instead and Warner lived to rock n roll another day.
Warner has learned a thing or two from jamming with (the now retired) Dan Baird for all these years and one of them is that setlists are for wussies. Setlists should be made on the fly as the gig moves on, based on what the band feels like on the evening and requests coming from the crowd. We got a mix of old and new Warner songs and several covers. I'm unable to compile a complete setlist because I didn't film the gig, but here's an idea of how diverse the mix of songs really was. Country-rock, traditional rock, heavy rock, punk rock, hard rock. Genre boundaries are for wussies. If it rocks it rocks:
- We obviously got many Warner E. Hodges songs and I can't remember all of them: "Right Back Where I Started", "Preachin' To The Choir" (requested by yours truly), "The Magician", "I'm Never Alone", "Where You Gone?"
- 2 Jason And The Scorchers songs: "If Money Talks", "White Lies".
- 2 AC/DC songs: "Riff Raff", "Let There Be Rock".
- 1 10-minutes thunderous Black Sabbath song: "War Pigs". (Warner has a great Ozzy voice)
- 1 John Denver song: "Take Me Home, Country Roads". (JATS also covers this)
- 1 Sex Pistols / The Big Bopper remix: "Holidays In The Sun" / "White Lightning".
- Warner did 8 guitar loops and no spins this evening. He would have knocked down everyone and everything if he had attempted a guitar spin on that small stage.
- He wore his green cowboy boots.
I got home with a t-shirt and 2 new CDs from the always super friendly merchandise stand.
- "Boots Up" is the new CD and is a greatest hits WEH CD with some new tracks on it as well. The vinyl is delayed until August, so I was happy that I could have a CD to listen to until then.
- De Piratas : "F U" is a side rock project by Warner, Jeff Johnson, Jonathan Bright. It's actually a really catchy little album, that I'd never heard of before.
I would lie if I said I wasn't very tired today after this little trip to Sweden and back by train from Copenhagen on a Thursday evening, but it was so worth it. Danish people don't know anything about great rock music so it's perfect that they do in Malmö.
See you next time, Warner and boys! You sure know how to kick some rock n roll ass!