As the lead singer of Stray Cats in the Eighties, Brian Setzer introduced rockabilly music to a generation of MTV-obsessed youth. He then went on to form the swinging Brian Setzer Orchestra, recording more than a dozen LPs under that name, and has also been releasing solo albums since 1986. In 2014, Setzer released Rockabilly Riot!: All Original, which, as the title suggested, contained all-new material performed by Setzer and his band, including Minneapolis drummer Noah Levy, and Nashville musicians Mark W. Winchester on bass and Kevin McKendree on piano.
The three-time Grammy winner’s fiery live performances are featured in the upcoming concert CD and Blu-ray, Rockabilly Riot: Osaka Rocka! Live in Japan. Filmed in February at Osaka’s Namba Hatch, the live show features tunes encompassing every aspect of Setzer’s musical journey, from Stray Cats hits – including “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut” – to songs from the 2014 LP, including “Stiletto Cool” and “Vinyl Records.”
One of the highlights is “Rumble in Brighton,” a greased-up, high-octane track first heard on the Stray Cats’ 1981 debut LP released in the U.K. and later included on Built for Speed, as well as albums by the Brian Setzer Orchestra. A testament to rockabilly’s universal appeal, as well as Setzer and band’s electrifying, Gretsch guitar-led live performance, the tune about violent clashes in the popular English seaside town loses nothing in the translation for a wildly enthusiastic Japanese crowd.
“This is the first time we’ve recorded the Rockabilly Riot on film,” says Setzer. “And also, just like in America, the cities differ in Japan. The Osaka fans are noted for generally being a very loyal and energetic audience. As you’ll see from the show, the Osaka fans are die-hard and know every single song and applaud after guitar solos, and even sing along to songs that I typically don’t see in other cities.”
Setzer, who performed live for SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel and was featured on the CMA Country Christmas special last year, continues to tour with his big-band outfit and will once again do several shows throughout the upcoming holiday season on his 13th annual Christmas Rock! Tour.
Rockabilly Riot: Osaka Rocka! Live in Japan will be released on CD and Blu-ray November 4th on Surfdog Records, with pre-orders beginning Friday, September 30th.