Friday, October 20th, 2006
Let There Be Rock
It’s been over two years since Toronto last had its ass kicked by The Drive-By Truckers and by god, that’s way too long. If you ever need to have your faith in the power and the glory of rock and roll restored, just hit a Truckers show and be healed.
Since their last visit in September ’04, they’ve upgraded digs from the cozy Horseshoe to the spacious Phoenix – an excellent choice if for no other reason than the club has those big-ass floor PA speakers on either side of the stage that can double quite excellently as guitar soloing platforms, if the performer is so inclined. And Mssrs Cooley, Hood and Isbell took full advantage, stepping up and into the crowd for their leads as they tore off numbers from their latest record A Blessing And A Curse. The set began front-loaded with more recent material but as the night went on and the band got looser (and more lubricated), they went reaching further into their catalog, going as far back as Pizza Deliverance, if not farther – there were a few songs in the set list that I couldn’t place. The Southern Rock Opera numbers, in particular, were simply scorching.
Whereas last time there was a fair bit of monologuing from Patterson Hood, both because of the Southern mythology inherent to The Dirty South and the then-impending US election (this photo is all you need to know about the Truckers’ politics), this time they were intent on cramming as much music into their two-and-a-half-hour set as possible. The show was a non-stop Rocktoberfest celebration with pauses only long enough to pass around the Jack Daniels. It truly boggles my mind that they give so much for so long every night – if you walk out of a Truckers show without a grin on your face and an air guitar in your hand, then by gum there’s something wrong with you. And yeah, at one point I was singing backups (with about a dozen others up front) on “Let There Be Rock” – when Patterson Hood sticks a mic in your face, you bloody well sing.
Tourmates and labelmates The Drams, risen from the ashes of Denton, Texas’ Slobberbone, set the tone for the evening with their opening set of raw, alcohol-soaked but intensely hooky roots rock. Showcasing material from their debut Jubilee Dive (as well as a cowpunk version of Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos”), they rocked and sweat hard and might well have stolen the show if they were playing with anyone else… but no one steals a show from the Truckers. No one.
Just as they split songwriting duties evenly, so also do the Truckers divvy up press duties – Jason Isbell talks to The St Louis Riverfront Times, Mike Cooley to the Cleveland Free Times and Patterson Hood has a quick word with The Lousiville Eccentric Observer.
Photos: Drive-By Truckers, The Drams @ The Phoenx, October 18, 2006
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Feb 14”
Stream: Drive-By Truckers / A Blessing And A Curse (Flash)
eCard: The Drams
MySpace: Drive-By Truckers
MySpace: The Drams
The November 13 bill at Lee’s Palace just got a little bit louder – in addition to Annuals and Evangelicals, The Big Sleep are now also playing. If curious, you can stream the Annuals album for free right now at AOL, hear the Evangelicals’ new ode to Hallowe’en and check out the Big Sleep’s new video.
The National’s Matt Berninger gives Chart an update on how the recording of their new album is coming along. Just the idea that the follow-up to Alligator is out there, three-quarters done, makes me squirm just a bit. You can also watch the Saturn commercials featuring The National’s music – “Saturn Question Mark” and “VUE Green Line” – just in case you don’t feel like you’re getting enough advertising in your diet.
Portland’s Parenthetical Girls are in town November 9 for a show at The Boat.
The Prestige, aka Batman vs Wolverine, opens today, much to my delight. I could have sworn this wasn’t coming out till next year, but nope – it’s here now and while reviews aren’t overwhelming, I hope it will still be worth my time and money. PopMatters talks to leads Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman while Newsarama chats up director Christopher Nolan.