Not everyone has been seduced by the sights and sound of Lynyrd Skynyrd live in concert. Step forward Pete Erskine, a music journalist who wrote this over the top, laugh-out-loud evisceration of the band. It appeared in the UK music mag, New Musical Express (NME) in November 1975. Skynyrd were in London, performing at the Hammersmith Odeon. Grab your pitchforks and read on:
A TORRENT OF MUSICAL BEER CANS
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Hammersmith Odeon – 27 October, 1975
What phases me most about Lynyrd Skynyrd is the nature of the fan they seem to have attracted over here.
If you study your silhouettes projected here on the screen you’ll notice that the genus is predominantly male, large of belly, head and biceps and most especially – mouth.
The band themselves are simply block-headed – a bunch of rather ugly, extremely average American musicians traversing the stage with the grace of those troubled by the manifestation of severe incontinence.
On record Lynyrd Skynyrd never fulfilled the promise suggested by their first album – mainly that they seemed capable of penning really catchy well-constructed songs and performing them in a fashion that lent new life to the tired old concept of straining twin lead guitars.
They showed promise of being both concise, melodic and very ballsy. they were, at this time, by far the best band to have emerged from the Deep South – certainly head and shoulders above the melancholic and lackadaisical champs, the Allman Brothers.
On stage they sem to have succumbed to the lure of a sloppy sentimentalised Southern morass typified by paranoid lyrics defending their macho uptightness to supersubtle Northerners (“Sweet Home Alabama”) and the inevitable unfurling of Old Dixie(the guys who thought up those nice Union Jack carrier bags should check that one out).
At the various points changes to tempo and intonation were detectable, however – notably steam-rollered versions of JJ Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze” and “Same Old Blues” and a ‘beat’ reworking of Jimmie Rogers’ “T For Texas” whose strength luckily was sufficient to withstand the torrent of musical beer cans.
In fact, Skynyrd ethos may be summarised thus: The degree of one’s masculinity may only be ascertained by the speed with which one can drain a bottle – and the style with which one barfs up the results over one’s neighbour.
Unwittingly Skynyrd’s reaffirmation of male conditioning might actually be kicking away the legs of the pier on which they are standing. With luck, they’ll start another war, have all their audiences called up and leave the rest of us free to enjoy unbroken telephone kiosks and mugging-free subways.”