Camden is a great place. I’m sure lots of you out there have heard of it, but I heartily recommend that you visit some time and check out the fantastic markets and clothing stores. What Camden also has is The Underworld, a notorious venue situated underneath the World’s End pub. The likes of the Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, the Offspring and The Darkness have all played there, and this is a bit surprising as it’s bloody small. Mind you, whoever runs it knows what they’re doing, as on a swelteringly hot day it’s cool as anything with the air conditioning set to maximum. I give silent thanks and settle down to watch the tiny stage become occupied by a man who describes himself as “One quarter of the greatest rock and roll band in the world”. The man is Eddie Spaghetti, the band is The Supersuckers, and although there’s plenty of support for him I’m one of the few standing there wondering what all the fuss is about.
It soon becomes evident why this guy has such a following, as he’s very entertaining. As with the headliner, it’s just him and an acoustic guitar, and he seems intent on making the crowd have as good a time as he is obviously having. Notably, he ends every single song with a dramatic “Cha! Cha! Cha!”, which is the cue for applause, and it works very well. Musically, the man from Arizona pulls out plenty of country tinged stuff, showing a real liking for the songs of Johnny Cash, dedicating “What Do I Care” to his wife, who is manning (womaning?) the t-shirt stand with their son Quatro. There’s a good few Supersuckers songs thrown in as well, with planty of people happily singing along to “Mighty Joe Young”, “Double Y” and others that are totally new to me, although I easily get the hang of the not too subtle chorus of “Pretty Fucked Up”. At one point, an audience request sees him make a damned good job of “Breaking The Law”, and after an hour it’s obvious that the man in the hat has gone down extremely well. I’d probably have enjoyed it more if I’d known the songs better, but it’s a testament to his talent and endearing stage persona that I had a good time nonetheless.
There’s a good crowd in tonight, with plenty of fans for both singers. No need for much downtime between acts, as all Ricky needs to do is plug in his acoustic guitar and go for it. As with Eddie Spaghetti the crowd seem to know every word, as he rattles through a set made up mostly of Almighty tracks and songs from his 3 acoustic CDs. Mind you, he;s not afraid to throw in a couple of left field covers, such as “Running Free” and “The Ace of Spades”, the latter introduced as “the greatest love song ever written” for some reason. One highlight comes during “Wild & Wonderful”, as Ricky tells a hilarious anecdote in the middle (which goes on for about twice the length of the song itself) involving tractors and smelling of chicken shit. Laugh? I nearly shat.
Like his support act, Ricky is very comfortable on stage with just a guitar to hide behind. He strums away like a maniac, with subtle movements of his left hand showing a considerable talent as it changes the tunes in small but effective ways. Fans of his excellent “Belfast Confetti” album are kept happy with a few songs, including the title track, “Throwin’ Dirt” and the fantastic “The Arms Of Belfast Town”, which we all try to sing with the right accent, so we do. The set finishes with “3 Sides To Every Story”, or as Ricky’s Dad apparently called it “3 Chrods To Every Fuckin’ Song”. To finish off the night, though, Eddie Spaghetti comes back on and the paid do a couple of Johnny Cash numbers, leaving Ricky to close proceedings with “I Fought the Law”. Ricky Warwick may not have the power chords of the Almighty behind him these days, but he still puts on a mesmerizing show, and next time he comes your way you really should check him out, because I’m glad I did.
Review by Alan Holloway, alan "at" rockunited.com