at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., February 6, 2024

HILLBILLY VEGAS (Live at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., February 6, 2024)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Newcastle based band Crowley, have been causing quite a stir lately, grabbing prestigious support slots with an impressive array of bands including Green Lung and The Bites as well as well as getting a foothold in the festival circuit and it’s easy to see why. Blessed with an absolute powerhouse vocalist in Lidya Balaban and some heavy weight riffage from guitarists Eliza Lee and Ruth Cranston they certainly whip up quite a storm. With strong material including “Witching Hour” and “Pyre” and armed with an imposing stage presence, Crowley have what is takes to reach for the sky.

Oklahoma’s, Hillbilly Vegas have been trekking around the UK opening for Thunder’s Luke Morley and going down a storm. To make the most of their time on these shores, they booked in a bunch of their own headlining shows with tonight’s gig at Trillians in Newcastle, their second visit to Newcastle in the space of a week but fortunately familiarity did not breed contempt as the Geordie crowd turned up in their droves.

Mining the deep well of their Southern heritage, Hillbilly Vegas ticked all the boxes from the whiskey soaked gravel throated roar of Steve Harris to the occasional triple guitar assault led by Stacy Thornburg and Johnny Reed, these Southern Rockers did themselves proud.

They rocked with a tight groove on “Mason Jars On Moonlight” and “Hightime For A Goodtime” while in the more commercial “Long Way Back”, they may well have a hit single on their hands.

A fine take on Frankie Miller’s “Down The Honkytonk” had the keyboards banging while Harris did Miller’s vocal to perfection. Harris proved an amiable frontman, regaling tales of life on the road and of the days of old with his grandparents and all told with a cheeky grin. If life as a musician ever ends, then he may well have an alternative career as a stand up comic.

“Shake It Like A Hillbilly” from their latest opus The Great Southern Hustle distils the Hillbilly Vegas sound into one perfect rip roaring song. “Hell To Pay” packed an almighty punch and their raucous take on AC/DC’s “Walk All Over You” blew the roof off.

Expect to hear much, much more from these Hillbilly’s over the coming months.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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