Johnny Cash Tribute

Tim Chmielewski
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Johnny Cash Tribute
Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
27th September 2003

Each band played two songs and one original song (that was the plan anyway.)

Running order of the bands:

  1. Truckstopping Hearts
  2. Shonkytonk
  3. Royal Chord
  4. The Maryhillbillies
  5. T-Bones
  6. The Exotics
  7. Moler
  8. The Dice Age
  9. Loudhailer
  10. Gamma Rays
  11. Red Hot Poker Dots
  12. Working Class Ringos
  13. GIT

Scan of set list: Part 1, Part 2
(I had to write the band names down on something and that was the best I could at the time.)

The sound problems in the room were disappointing (the bass was stuffed, doubly so if you were on stage so I was told), but most of the bands managed to play their way through it.

Some of the most popular of JC's songs on the night were Folsom Prison, Rock Island Line and I'm going to Jackson (It would have been nice if they had played more than one Johnny Cash CD during the breaks though.)

I thought the most interesting versions of JC's songs were performed by the Gamma Rays (a psychedelic surf-rock instrumental band), The Maryhillbillies and GIT. I liked GIT's songs in particular as the managed to add something extra to the songs with their performance such as their three-voice harmony on the song 'Stripes'. They also ended up being one of the audience favourites as they came back for an encore of their own songs.

Best performance by a band I haven't seen before was by the Working Class Ringos who really got into the spirit of the songs and played a hard and fast set. They weren't even fazed by a stage invasion (it was Grand Final night.)

As I had borrowed a digital camera from work, I managed to get photos of all the bands and some of the crowd enjoying themselves (including the two women who must have had the extra-thick beer goggles on as they tried to hit on me.) A lot of the photos seem to have a haze in front of them - I think this due to tobacco smoke and hard liquor. In a strange way this somehow seems appropriate.

This is probably the most fun I have had at a gig since GIT's CD launch and when Hayseed Dixie performed at the same venue. I will be making a point of contacting all the bands involved, hopefully to catch them at their own gigs and show them the photos I took during their performances.

Tim Chmielewski