Hayseed Dixie, Borderline, London

Borderline, London

"I'm here to testify", says front man Barley Scotch in one of many beer-fuelled, between-song spiels, "that Hank Williams' Lost Highway and AC/DC's Highway to Hell are the same road." True, the link between heavy rock and old-time country is not so tenuous. Both go for songs about sin, bad women and the bottle. Both feature high velocity soloing, even if one favours the Flying-V over the fiddle.

Since O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the US has been crawling with "alternative bluegrass" acts. But Hayseed Dixie stood out - not only for releasing, in 2002, an album of AC/DC covers (that year alt-country singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek, curiously, did the same) but because Scotch, aka John Wheeler, and colleagues' other band is a serious bluegrass combo, the Kerosene Brothers.

Opening and closing with AC/DC's Dirty Deeds and Big Balls, they tackle classics by Aerosmith, Kiss, the Cars and the Carter Family, play a flying-fingered take on Motörhead's Ace of Spades and an excellent Hells Bells. It's a tight, confident, high-spirited set, enhanced by a good-natured crowd singing heartily along with everything, including the band's one self-penned ballad I'm Keeping Your Poop. Clearly delighted, the band say they had no idea what to expect, this being their first ever UK show. Same here: it might have been a Björn Again pastiche whose joke wore off after three numbers. When people loudly cheer an after-show announcement that they're returning in November, you know it wasn't.

Sylvie Simmons

The GuardianTramp

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