Supersuckers - Live in Edinburgh (2022) (Cover Artwork)


Live in Edinburgh (2022) (2022)

Live Show

First up, a bit of context. This was my first live music in exactly two and a half years, I’d spent the afternoon at a friend’s funeral and, as you might expect given those two facts, I drank a lot of beer at the show. So this may not be entirely objective; under the circumstances I might even have enjoyed a Nickelback tribute band. OK, maybe not, but it’s fair to say the combination of European lager and American rock and roll was much needed.

My friend and I skipped the support bands in favour of drinking and lamenting the laundry list of shows that Covid had cancelled or postponed (mine included Off With Their Heads, Frank Turner and Laura Stevenson, his included Genesis and Gojira – our tastes don’t always align). But we were near the front by the time the Supersuckers took the stage, Eddie Spaghetti the epitome of cool dressed all in black with trademark cowboy hat and shades, guitarist Metal Marty Chandler in denim, drummer Christopher Von Streicher rocking a truly excellent beard.

Opener "Ain’t Gonna Stop", which after 30 years could almost serve as the band’s mission statement, was marred by sound issues which temporarily rendered Eddie’s vocals almost inaudible. But once that was fixed they stormed through a career-spanning set of good old-fashioned no frills rock. Early high points included "Roadworn and Weary", transformed from the acoustic version on Must’ve Been High, the pointedly pissed off "Rock ‘n’ Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year)" and the classic "Creepy Jackalope Eye".

Bannerman’s is the perfect venue for the Supersuckers – a low stage, a well-stocked bar, and clientele showing off more black leather than a sofa showroom. It’s a world away from the last time I saw them play, a country show at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip in 2002. They deserve a bigger crowd than they draw in these parts, but they must feel right at home here.

I’m still bummed that I missed the band the last time they played here in 2018, when they were playing The Evil Powers of Rock ‘n’ Roll in full. I consider that album to be their career high point and the perfect distillation of everything that makes the Supersuckers great – the relentless riffs, the occasional hint of country, the winking sense of humour in their tales of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. So I was a little disappointed they only played two songs from that record (the title track and the majestic "Goin’ Back to Tucson") but in their defense they have a pretty dense back catalogue at this point.

While they might never reach the heights of Evil Powers again, the band are on a bit of an upward trajectory – 2020’s Play That Rock N Roll, the album this tour was still ostensibly promoting after Covid delayed things, is probably better than 2018’s Suck It, which was definitely better than 2014’s Get The Hell (ignored at this show aside from the kickass title track – even the patchiest Supersuckers albums have a few gems).

Their records might be less essential these days, but a Supersuckers live show is still about as close to a guaranteed good time as you can get. There wasn’t too much from their 90s Sub Pop era, but "Luck" got a welcome airing. I think Metal Marty took a turn on lead vocals at one point but honestly my memory of the back end of their set is a little fuzzy. "Rock Your Ass" was dumb fun, "(I’m Gonna Choke Myself and Masturbate) Til I Die" was even dumber fun. While they’re capable of the odd left turn – they’ve released two genuinely good straight up country albums – you don’t go to the Supersuckers for subtlety. Their MO is pretty clear – half their songs have the words ‘rock’ or ‘rock n roll’ right there in the title.

The show ended, as many ’Suckers shows do, with an assault on Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song and a rampage through "Born With a Tail" to a sea of middle fingers and devil horns. There can’t be no debatin’ their hellbound trail, and while there may be some debatin’ their self-proclaimed status as the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world, I’d rather revel in the riffs and the attitude than argue about it.