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August 5, 2008

Concert Review: Drive By Truckers, Electric Ballroom

I'm not going to give a detailed review (do I ever?) as I'm sure that Col over at Axe Victim will do a much better job as he's more familiar with the band.

I will say, though, that these guys were loud and riff-tastic! My ears are still ringing.

Now, I feel a bit reticent about classifying their music as the Drive By Truckers have managed to slip by under my radar until now and I'm not totally clued up on their back catalogue. I guess nobody's going to shoot me, though, if I term them 'intelligent blue-collar rockers'. I've seen them labelled as alt-country, but, y'know, that term seems to cover a wide range of sins these days.

The band basically grabs the grass-roots zeitgeist by the balls and squeezes hard. The songs are about characters and real-life situations. You get 3 rocking guitars, with Gibson out-gunning Fender (well, a custom job based on a '72 tele) by 2 to 1... as it should be, bass, drums, keys in the back and the occasional country twang supplied by a pedal steel. Then there's the vocals. Both frontmen take turns centre-stage, whilst bass-lady chimes in on backing and occasional lead vox.

The band's 'down-home' imagery is pretty in your face. Beards and plaid are de rigeur. It doesn't come across as affected, though. It's a 'this is where we come from' look.

When I got home last night after riding my bike through the deserted streets of London I couldn't bring myself to go to bed. The Drive By Truckers' music had grabbed hold and wouldn't let go. It wasn't that it was complex or clever. Quite the opposite. Watching the guitarists play, there were lots of open chords, pentatonics, up-down-up strumming. But... it was music. Pure, simple, raw music. These guys were just there to stand up, plug in and say something. Great stuff.

And, last but not least, watching Patterson Hood up there beating the hell out of his Les Paul, I felt my teenage desire for a goldtop flare up once again.


Axe Victim said...

A super review Ken. My ears, as indeed my heart, are still ringing! I want to grow a beard and buy a Fender Twin more than anything now.

Kenski said...

Thanks for that Col, and thanks for introducing me to the band :-) I'll be scouring Amazon marketplace for cheap CD's now!!! Either my ears have stopped ringing now, or I've just got used to it and have permanent hearing damage. Either way, small price for such a great show, though.

Also, Songwriting for Guitar arrived in the mail. Had a quick peek at random bits. Looks very handy for lighting the fire under inspiration. We'll see how it goes!

Kenski said...

Oh, and...

Fender Twin? Definitely (65 Super Reverb should work)

Beard? If you like...