The Real McKenzies and A Tom Collins – at SLO Brew – San Luis Obispo, CA
September 18, 2014
Before seeing The Real McKenzies I decided to go to the venue (SLO Brew) about an hour early. I was pleasantly surprised to find Paul and the band enjoying some good food upstairs.
I ended up getting a chance to meet them before the show, it was hard to keep my composure due to the fact that the whole band was dressed in kilts and I am such a big fan, but Paul was super nice and friendly so it took the edge off a little. As I made my way down stairs I decided to grab a pint of Guinness and a shot of whiskey to prepare myself for the show.
On stage before The Real McKenzies was an interesting band called A. Tom Collins. The main reason that brought me closer to the stage was the fact that the band was composed of a trumpet player, a saxophone player, a piano player/vocalist, and a drummer; and I can’t seem to help myself when it comes to brass instruments, I had to be front and center! The band had a definite jazz influence that gave their sound a unique style. The piano player’s vocals melded very well with the horns and pulled some people from around the room closer to the stage, even though there was not too many inside the venue at this point. Besides being great musicians the band’s cleverly constructed lyrics had me laughing when they sang, “I love Jesus and Jesus loves me even when I’m high on drugs.” All in all A. Tom Collins played a fun and entertaining show even though the band seemed a little disappointed with the turnout of people there. San Luis Obispo would love to have you guys back, so please come back soon.
When The Real McKenzies walked on stage dressed in full Scottish garb, everyone in the crowd cheered and started stomping their feet right along with their catchy tunes. Paul didn’t waste any time getting the crowd pumped up by playing “Chip”, demonstrating his extraordinary and unforgettable stage presence. Half way through their set Paul had everyone screaming when he decided to bend over and show the whole crowd his ass. The band played many of their greatest songs, told stories, and interacted with the audience in between each song. During their more popular songs like “Droppin’ Like Flies” the fans was chanting along with the band. Gord Taylor put on a great performance as well while showing off his skills on the pipes!
Paul belted out each song with a smile, and worked up the crowd with two middle fingers raised and some red shades on. The McKenzies finished their set with “Bugger OFF”, one of my favorites, but came back on stage for an awesome encore including “McPherson’s Rant” and “Nessie”, to the audience’s delight. The crowd clapped along with the beat during the band’s roaring finish. The Real McKenzies are crowd pleasers but are still unforgettably badass. After the show the band was nice enough to talk with me and a few friends after the show, can’t wait to see these guys again. The Real McKenzies created a warm and unified atmosphere when they played causing you to feel camaraderie with everyone else in the audience. I have to admit that it was nothing short of greatness, there is a reason why these guys have been playing for so long. I’m going to go buy a kilt and get ready for the next time they come to town!
Big Wheel Contributor
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