With such a splendid name, you could only ever associate a band called Gas Food Lodging with Americana music. The iconic sign liberally sprinkled across the freeways, highways and interstates of the USA had its slogan captured in celluloid with the 1992 movie of the same name and several years earlier alternative rock band Green on Red used it as the title of their 1985 album. It is the chain reaction from that band which brings you to the present day.
Green on Red was the band where Chuck Prophet cut his cloth prior to a successful solo career and one of Chuck's biggest fans is the Gas Food Lodging founder Dave Griffiths. During the recent Hare and Hounds gig where Chuck made his triumphant return to Birmingham, a series of events led to Dave joining him on stage for one of the final numbers.The influence of Chuck and other giants of American music as well as the Rolling Stones has inspired Dave to form a band to reflect this style and inject some original material into the abundance of covers that can be called upon,
Since their formation in late 2012 when Dave teamed up with veteran drummer Pete Robinson, who has a wealth of country rock experience, and bassist Pete Taylor, Gas Food Lodging has set about establishing themselves on the Midlands gig circuit. This latest support slot alongside popular local blues rock artist Ian Parker at the Robin 2 in Bilston was an opportunity to show their talents to a sizeable midweek audience.
Although eventually the aim must be for singer songwriter Dave to introduce more self-penned material into the set, all but one song performed on this evening was a cover and from the sources you would expect knowing his influences. After opening with a version of Ronnie Self's 'Waiting for the Gin to Hit Me' the band then went on a Chuck Prophet spree with a pair of tracks from his solo career and two Green on Red numbers. The latter, 'Time ain't Nothing' and 'Two Lovers (Waitin' to Die)' were unfamiliar to me but came across well. On the other hand the two Chuck tracks were also sung by the acclaimed US alt-country rocker in his recent gig. 'Left Hand and the Right Hand' is one of the standout tracks from the TEMPLE BEAUTIFUL album while 'You Did' is a very popular Chuck Prophet live number. To the band's credit all the versions of these songs had merit and paid the utmost respect to the original.
To conclude this fine bands's short set, Dave introduced the audience to one of his original songs 'Too Much' which reflects on the impact of technology today before completing their warm up slot with a version of Dylan's 'Forever Young'. As with all songs played during the set, the band impressed with the neat co-ordination of bass, lead and percussion while the clear vocals ensured the quality of the songs was conveyed to the attentive and appreciative audience.
It's early days for Gas Food Lodging but if they work on some more original material, the potential is there to develop the band and add impetus to a Midlands Americana scene. A keen eye will definitely be kept on this group in the future.
Check out their version of Time Ain't Nothing