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Hank III and Assjack By Hilbilly Skip

also check Skip's Interview with Hank here

 

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What an amazing evening. We are Twisted HillBilly Magazine, but I found myself in the presence of THE Twisted Hillbilly, himself.. Noone embodies the atmosphere of that term better than Hank III.  I finally understand the essence of , who and  what, was and is, known as Hank III, and perhaps Hank Williams Sr.. I felt a lot of “Rebel” in the air. Knoxville and Hank Williams are two entities that are forever linked in history. Hank Williams Sr., as history tells us, very likely spent his last moments in our fair city . I cannot be sure, but I think I witnessed a version of a second coming at this show. It was more than just viewing and reviewing and band or artist; it felt like a visit from an old friend that is called non-conformity and hardcore expression. Upon meeting Hank III, I found myself unusually star struck. There was no glitz or glamour, but rather something that transcends such things and is ultimately far more valuable ; there was a sense of “REAL” and “RAW”. Meeting Hank III had a profound impact on this reviewer. I found Hank and every member of his band, management and entourage, to be very fan friendly and extremely cooperative, despite the grueling road schedule they had recently faced. As a side note, I would like to mention that the Fiddle player (Adam) had a black eye.

 

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I would further say that in the genre, if your fiddle player doesn’t have a black eye, he ain’t Sh#t. The venue, “Blue Cats Live” was full and well organized . In fact, the line for entry was wrapped around the front of the building and extended all the way across the side parking lot. The owners and staff at Blue Cats Live know their stuff. The entry was organized, the security more than adequate, and the sound engineering was top notch. In short, a good time was had by all and that never happens without solid planning. Blue Cats Live in Knoxville, Tennessee is a great place to see your favorites.

After I gained entry, I set out to attain good vantage points from which to shoot photos and witness the event. With such a crowd this can be a real challenge, but not at this venue. The venue staff and road management for the band made all things possible and they have my undying thanks. The first set was Hank III and held the purest country feel and sound anyone could expect. The lyrics were expressive and “in your face” . The music was solid country with a hard edged flair. It was in this set that I felt the traditional presence of Hank III’s ancestry. Hank III gave me the feeling that this was “HIS” music, he liked it just fine and was not there for validation, but to share! I suspect this atmosphere and feel was very similar to the sensations many of  Hank Sr.’s fan base enjoyed; a crowd pleaser that was simply natural, tangible, and unbridled. Songs of note were “Tennessee Driver”, “Crazed Country Rebel”, and “The Gand Old Opry” (ain’t so grand anymore). I note these articular songs because I am familiar with them and was very pleased at how well they were performed in a live setting. The crowd was equally entertained. The crowd reactions reminded me of some of the shows I’ve witnessed in far larger venues. Even with the disparity in numbers to that which a large stadium can hold, the energy was identical. Shows like this also produce another effect that I enjoy considerably; you get to see the “closet fans”. Those who wear executive clothing all week. Those that have a reputation to uphold. Those with a standing in the community. Those whose employees, and maybe families, would not understand their predilection to such an artist, or musical / message style. It’s like running into the religious in a porn store, or liquor store. They are having a great time and the second they are recognized, here comes that “dear in headlights” look that says, “you don’t really see me here.”
I would imagine that Hank Sr. had similar fans in the crowd.

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After a very mild costuming adjustment, meaning Hank took off his vest and changed from a Hillbilly hat to a ball cap; ASS JACK took the stage. Folks, this is what I’m all about; Skull punching, tooth spitting, mosh pit generating, hard, angry, rebellious METAL MUSIC; just what you would expect from a band who’s very expensive Prevost tour bus had a crushed front bumper.  It was at this point

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that I really took notice to the access I had been granted. I was so close in some of these shots that I was sprayed with saliva and sweat from the performers on stage and could quite literally feel their breath as they bolted out those sweet, crushing, grinding sounds they produce. I have never seen a band “give” so much. It was nearly impossible to shoot frames at points during the show, because I could not stop “bangin’ my head”

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long enough to get still for focusing, or I would begin to writhe violently in the middle of shot because the band continued to relentlessly “kick my ass” so hard. The end product on some of those shots was something that looked like an acid trip from a 60's movie.None the less, I ended up with an amazing array of pictures. This was real power! The musicians gave blood in the lyrics, sweat from their bodies, and tears from the salt rolling into their eyes. Hank III literally had a puddle of sweat under his very unique boots by the time the second set was merely half over. Vini Vidi Vicci !!!! If you ever get an opportunity to see HANK III and ASSJACK, DO NOT MISS IT!!!!! Nobody gives more to the crowd or takes

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more away for themselves than these guys. When I spoke with the singer for AssJack after the gig, he asked how I liked it. Based on my overzealous love for metal music, I simply replied “ My skull exploded right after I came” That just about sums it up for me. What a F$#KIN” SHOW !!!!!!!!!!
KEEP IT METAL !!!!!!!
Skip                                                                                                                 

 

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