Rockabilly Riot Tour Starring BRIAN SETZER Hits The Astro

Brian Setzer and his band performing on the stage at The Astro in La Vista, Nebraska on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (Photo credit: Dean Birkheimer)

DEAN BIRKHEIMER | Go Venue Magazine

On an incredibly beautiful early March day (March 10th to be exact), where the temperature was in the high 60s, and the neon lights of The Astro lit the surrounding sky, Brian Setzer and his crew jumped and jived their way through an astounding set that blew the roof off the joint.

Getting someone to successfully set the tone for a Brian Setzer show is no easy task, but Yates McKendree, along with his father, Grammy™ award winner Kevin McKendree on keys and Griffin Photoglo, son of Jim Photoglo of the 80s soft rock hit “Fool In Love with You”, on percussion did it with confidence and amazing musicianship. If Setzers style is Rockabilly, then McKendree is Bluesabilly.  Yates definitely knows his way around the fretboard. Although only in his 20s, he has an old soul understanding of the blues and music in general. He is a multi-instrumentalist and a unique vocalist, and is as comfortable behind the scenes as he is behind the microphone, evident by his Grammy™ Award for his role as an engineer and a musician on Delbert McClinton’s “Tall Dark & Handsome.” His authentic demeanor grew as he worked his way through his set, and the more he played, the more the crowd became captivated.  It was obvious they did not expect this level of talent as an opener. When the set was over, the crowd responded with great admiration and awe. Yates McKendrees first LP, named after the street he grew up on, “Buchanan Lane”, was released in October 2022 to rave reviews and adoration. There are mass amounts of anticipation out there as Yates is currently working on his 2nd album. If you want more information about Yates and his music, please check out the label’s website.

It was so refreshing to go to a show, and it not turn political or feature scantily clad performers. The only thing Brian Setzer featured was a 20 song, 90 minute bag of FUN! After four years of not touring, you’ll forgive him if he’s a bit rusty. NO CHANCE! No rust at all, super hot, super fast and super cool is what this show was. Brian not only brought Chris D’ Rozario on bass and Juan Larios on drums with him, but he also brought a new solo album, The Devil Always Collects. The set consisted of all the songs you know and love, but also featured several songs from the new album. Just more songs to know and love. The show started with “Rock Boys Rock” off the new LP, and it immediately got everyone bopping. For me, it was awesome to hear “Runaway Boys” off the iconic “Built for Speed” LP. While “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut” got the airplay, “Runaway Boys” was blasting away on cassette in my 1980 Chevy Cavalier hatchback. As a HUGE Aerosmith fan, and being from Georgia (GO DAWGS) it was also great to hear “Train Kept A Rollin” and “Georgia On My Mind”. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen hundreds of shows and performers, but rarely did I have as much fun as I did at The Astro watching Brian Setzer do his thing. 40 years on and he has lost NOTHING! After the show I walked back to my car, which was no easy feat as I had to lug my camera bag and my jaw which was dragging on the ground. This is easily a must-see show. Even if you need to make a night of it. It is worth every penny you spend on accommodations, gas, airline tickets. Whatever it takes. GO! Be sure to check out his new LP and keep updated on all his doings: Brian Setzer Official Website.

 And now a quick word about The Astro and its people.  Once again, spectacular venue, amazing personnel. It’s ran so professionally and everything is so convenient. The Astro reminds me of what Hy-Vee used to be. “A helpful smile in every aisle.”

Brian Setzer

Yates McKendree

All images © Dean Birkheimer

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