Concert Review: Private Drive-By Truckers show in Toronto
This may be a news flash to some of you, but I am not cool. I have serious envy of bloggers who are better writers than I am, who have their shit together enough to post every day, who get lots of free CDs, tickets, backstage passes, and other swag. Most of the people who solicit me for a review for their new album clearly don’t even read my blog. My most recent e-mail solicitation was from an Australian group who describes themselves as a “blend of hip-hop and electro-pop.” I have nothing against this type of music, but it just isn’t my thing, and anyone who reads even one page of my blog knows this fact. So I was fucking thrilled when someone finally paid attention and gave me a free ticket to see one of my favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers, at the Phoenix last Sunday (Nov. 8).
This show was sponsored by Jack Daniels, and I guess it was supposed to be for bar/entertainment industry types. When I entered I got two free drink tickets, and there were buffets of finger food all around. I have to admit that I don’t even really like Jack Daniels. I’m more of a Jimbo drinkin’ kind of gal. But, the great ones play through the pain. (Note: I am currently out of the bourbon, so if anyone wants to get their favorite blogger an early Christmas present, please e-mail me at rockstaraimz at gmail dot com for delivery instructions.)
The Warped 45s opened the show. I’m embarrassed to say that I am not familiar with their music. They are from Toronto and apparently won a big prize at NxNE this year. How the hell did I miss them? According to their band bio, they have a “formidable arsenal of musical weapons, as they feature four vocalists, two songwriters, and multiple multi-instrumentalists,” including three, count ’em, three banjo players. They play a mix of country/rock/bluegrass, and although they compare themselves to Wilco in their band bio, don’t hold it against them. I just downloaded their debut 10 Day Poem for Saskatchewan from eMusic. They are playing at the Dakota on Dec. 5, and I will report back.
Funny quote from the show: one of the singers says, “This is our first time at the Phoenix, but not the first time drinking Jack Daniels.” LOL.
I’ve seen the Drive-By Truckers four times in the last three years. They are easily in my top four live acts, along with The Hold Steady, Okkervil River, and The Sadies. The first thing I noticed was that the Truckers are now touring with a keyboardist. An idea they picked up from The Hold Steady during their last tour? I love rock piano, and keyboardist Jay Gonzalez added a lot of texture to otherwise familiar songs.
Not that I am complaining about familiarity. When it comes to the Truckers, familiarity is fucking awesome! And the DBTs dug into their back catalog playing several tracks from their 1999 release Pizza Deliverance, and their 2001 opus Southern Rock Opera. Guitar bad-ass Mike Cooley put on one hell of a vocal performance during “Love Like This,” and played killer blues-rock during “Guitar Man Upstairs.”
One of the highlights for me was my main man Patterson Hood leaving it all on the stage during “Puttin’ People on the Moon.” And, for the fourth time that I have seen them, he changed the lyrics to make it topical, “Goddamn Bush was in the White House, and no one gave a damn!” Fuck yeah!
But the Truckers weren’t stuck on the oldies. They played several new tracks which may or may not be included on their March 2010 release A Big To Do. John Neff played some sweet blues on the new track “Get Downtown.” Bassist Shonna Tucker sang lead on “I Told You So” which sounds like it will be a fantastic song. For the new song “This Fuckin’ Job” Hood said that this was the first or second time ever that they had played it live (edit: according to the One of These Days set list database, they also played “This Fuckin’ Job” in Charlotte, NC, in August 2009).
Only two issues from my end. One, the sound was a bit off. We can thank the fuckheads at Delta Airlines for this problem. Hood said that Delta “lost a bunch of their shit.” How frustrating is that? And second, the Truckers usually close with a rousing fan-favorite, such as “People Who Died” or “Buttholeville” or “Lookout Mountain.” This time they closed with a cover, “Everybody Needs Love” by the late Eddie Hinton. This song was fantastic, but no one in the audience knew it like they know the Trucker’s originals. We couldn’t close with a spastic rock-out like usual, so it felt anti-climatic. But I can’t complain. For once, I felt like one of those cool, hip, in-the-know bloggers! Hopefully I can fool them again.
Quote of the night from Patterson Hood during “Let There Be Rock,” “Fuck that shit! I ain’t sorry!”
1. Self Destructive Zones – Brighter Than Creations Dark (2008)
2. Feb 14 – A Blessing and a Curse (2006)
3. One of these Days – Pizza Deliverance (1999)
4. Sinkhole – Decoration Day (2003)
5. Love Like This – Pizza Deliverance (1999)
6. George Jones Talkin’ Cell Phone Blues – The Fine Print (2009)
7. Great Car Dealer War – The Fine Print (2009)
8. I’m Sorry Huston – Brighter Than Creations Dark (2008)
9. Women Without Whiskey – Southern Rock Opera (2001)
10. Puttin’ People on the Moon – The Dirty South (2004)
11. 3 Dimes Down – Brighter Than Creations Dark (2008)
12. This Fucking Job – maybe on A Big To Do (March 2010)
13. Get Downtown – maybe on A Big To Do (March 2010)
14. Dead, Drunk and Naked – Southern Rock Opera (2001)
15. Guitar Man Upstairs – Southern Rock Opera (2001)
16. I Told You So – maybe on A Big To Do (March 2010)
17. Hell No, I Ain’t Happy – Decoration Day (2003)
18. Zip City – Southern Rock Opera (2001)
19. Let There Be Rock – Southern Rock Opera (2001)
20. Marry Me – Decoration Day (2003)
21. Everybody Needs Love – forthcoming Eddie Hinton tribute record (Nov. 24)
I do want to thank the fine people at Jack Daniel’s for giving me the ticket. Just because I don’t really like your product, doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate what you do. Listen to the fabulous JD track “Old Number 7” by The Devil Makes Three. This is one of the many songs that makes me want to learn how to play guitar.