Photo by Ben Peter Catchpole www.benpetercatchpole.com
“Literally, the coolest phrase I’ve ever heard is ‘alright my loverrrs,” drawls Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes to a rammed Princess Pavilion. With the Pavilion’s quintessentially English tearoom charm usually home to such greats as the St Stythians Band, T Rextasy and Sgt Peppers Only Dart Board Band (oh yes, really) it’s pretty fair to say that the crowd and the band are equal parts bemused and enraptured by their respective cultural heritages. The look on Hughes’ face when everyone starts shouting the local rallying cry of “Oggy oggy oggy! Oi oi oi!” to pay their respects to the free love smoulder of ‘Now I’m a Fool’ is priceless – flabbergasted, yet clinging to his grizzled, snarled cool by trying to look nonchalant – and the audience’s giggles at the band’s wide-legged posturing, biker bar talk, and habit of introducing songs via rhetorical questions made out of titles (“Are you just 19?!” he leers at one front row minor) suggest just how long it’s been since our musical G-spots have been tickled.
Strutting onstage to Kool and the Gang’s ‘Ladies’ Night’ whilst cloaked in the St Piran’s flag, it becomes clear quite quickly that subtlety doesn’t feature anywhere on former Republican speechwriter Hughes’ radar. His bullish smarm is well matched by that of certain wags in the audience who insist on shouting out “Josh!” between numbers – Joey ‘The Sexy Mexy’ Castillo is on drums tonight, and his ripped destructive playing is a machine-like two fingers up to those who came celeb crawling. Despite the rarity of decent gigs in Cornwall, they don’t always sell out, so it was eye-rollingly disappointing to talk to a guy in the bar afterwards who complained that he felt ripped off due to Homme not putting in an appearance (EoDM didn’t say why), despite having loved the gig and been full of praise for Castillo. The heckles subside as ‘Bad Dream Mama’ deploys a riff that’s Hunter S Thompson reincarnate shortly before the irresistibly sexy paean to youth and young corruption that is ‘I Gotta Feeling (Just Nineteen)’, all girlishly high falsetto and snake hips.
Around the middle, a few songs start to drown in the bombast of the set, but after Hughes downs a pint and introduces his extraordinarily young looking mum and brother, suddenly we’re back in a gay cowboy bar shaking it to a cock rock cover of ‘Stuck in the Middle’. They play less an encore, rather than an entire solo set from Hughes – ‘The Boy’s Bad News’ sounds like a crazed b-movie zombie chase with sexy consequences, his cover of ‘Brown Sugar’ is perhaps a little half-assed and could do with Dave, Brian and Joey to back it up, and the only problem with ‘Wannabe in LA’ is that this evening, Falmouth’s where rock’n’roll hedonism is laying its addled head.