Hank III and Assjack Spread Hell's Evil in New Orleans
You may be wondering why the grandson of country artist Hank Williams is showing up on a metal website. Hank III does play traditional country music akin to his grandfather’s style, but he’s been a fan of punk and metal all his life. Along with his country band, Hank III has been making metal with his band Assjack for years, and finally recorded (all the music and vocals by himself) and released “Assjack” in August of last year. He also plays the drums in the classic hardcore/thrash band Arson Anthem alongside Phil Anselmo of Down and Mike IX of Eyehategod, and was a member of the now disbanded Superjoint Ritual. Hank III’s show was a three-hour barrage of three styles of music; country, hellbilly and metal. And it was only fitting that “Hell’s House Band” should use only red stage lights throughout the night to create an aura of evil.
With a not a moment to spare, Hank III walked on the stage and immediately began to play with a band consisting of a fiddler, stand-up bass player, drummer, steel guitarist, guitarist and Hank III himself on acoustic guitar and vocals. From his many albums of kick-ass country music, he played “Thrown Out of the Bar,” “Mississippi Mud,” “The Grand Ole Opry (Ain’t So Grand),” “3 Shades of Black” and “Long Hauls and Close Calls” with vocalist Gary Lindsay. For this part of the show, the venue was extremely packed as fans of the traditional country music that is dominated by “pop country” flocked to hear. Boots were pounding the floor to the steady beat. Hank wore a cowboy hat for the hour long set.
Some musicians left the stage and some audience members did too because they knew that the atmosphere was about to get a little darker. This was the hellbilly set and Hank put on a trucker hat. Gary Lindsay took the lead on vocals with Hank occasionally backing him. The fiddler played madly like the boy who battled the Devil for his soul in that old famous song. The guitars raced along like a runaway train and the drums boomed. This set also lasted an hour, and the crowd became more wound up by the energy coming from the speakers. You could feel the tension about to be released.
Most of the country crowd left the bar, leaving only those who could handle what Assjack was about to play. Hank wore no hat, but let his long hair down so he would be able to headbang with style. Assjack played many songs from their self-titled album released last year including “Cocaine the White Devil” and “Cut Throat.” The metalheads moshed violently while Gary threw himself into the crowd repeatedly. The brutal, punk-inspired metal raged on; stopping, starting and changing tempo constantly. Unnerving and unsettling. Fights breaking out and dispersing because the combatants were lost in the chaos of the dark pit. After an hour of insanity, the musicians abandoned their instruments, thanked the crowd and walked away, leaving us dazed and confused. Luckily, Hank III went to his merch booth to sign autographs, take pictures and sort out the madness he had created.
Hank III and Assjack put on an amazing show of different styles, each one better than the last. For three hours, he never tired and gave every bit of himself to the crowd. Catch this show if you can. The energy you’ll receive from the stage is like electricity; you’ll be buzzed for days afterwards.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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