September 11, 2014 by tincanreview
We waited. And we waited some more. Then, five years since his last UK show, Texan songwriter Hayes Carll returned to deliver an outstanding performance in front of a sold out London crowd.
Accompanied by Travis Linville on slide guitar, Carll served up a 90 minute set beginning with poultry themed classics “Chickens” and “Wild As A Turkey”. “It ain’t meanness ya’ll, it’s just hungry’s what I am”, declares Carll with his trademark Southern slur. He follows this with a tender rendition of “Bye, Bye Baby” from 2011’s “KMAG YOYO” before launching into more foot stomping favourites such as “Bible On The Dash” and “It’s A Shame”. The fans are drawn to every word and watch largely in silence except to holler lines such as “You ain’t a poet, just a drunk with a pen”.
Carll’s charismatic stage presence allows him to change the atmosphere of a room as easily as changing keys. At one point the audience are howling with laughter as he recounts “One Bed, Two Girls, Three Bottles Of Wine”. A few moments later he performs a heart-breaking new song called “Jesus and Elvis”, which tells of an Austin bar owner who loses her son at Christmas to the Vietnam War. The stories which intersperse each song flow like chapters in a much larger narrative, perfectly paced and never faltering in their sincerity. The audience are left with an extremely personal experience.
For the encore Carll performs “Beaumont” and a stripped down version of “Bad Liver And A Broken Heart”, proclaiming “In this line of work no one retires”. Before leaving he thanks the audience saying “I’d do this every night if people show up or not but it’s much more fun when people do”.
Thanks for coming back to London, Hayes Carll. See you sooner than five years (we hope).