Sunday, September 12th, 2004

Boys From Alabama

I had always thought the Drive-By Truckers would be more bearded. I don’t know why. The Great White North is about as far as you can get from The Dirty South, but Allison Moorer and the DBT did a pretty good job of playing ambassadors last night. It was definitely an older, heavier and balder crowd than I usually find at the shows I go to, but everyone was anxious for the rock and the rock was brought.

I saw Allison Moorer a couple years ago when she was doing soulful country backed by a shit-hot band – now she’s doing soulful Southern rock backed by a shit-hot band. I think the latter sound suits her voice and songs better – the country sound seemed a little restrictive for her, she sounds better with the looser, more grooving sound. The crowd was certainly more appreciative of her this time around, maybe because there actually was a crowd. And oh yeah, she was looking gooood and that Southern accent? Hoo-boy.

Drive-By Trucker shows are things of legend, and now I understand why. Those guys (and girl) like to play and play and play – they kept the energy at 10 for a solid two and a half hours and probably could have kept going long into the night, telling the tales of Southern mythology that are the Truckers’ stock in trade. The concetrated on material from The Dirty South and Decoration Day, the only two records I have, but presumably dipped further back into their catalog as there were a number of tunes I didn’t recognize. Main trucker Patterson Hood looked to be having a blast with a huge grin on his face for most of the show and declared his love for this city, promising like so many others recently to move north is the election goes south in November. He even sported a tasteful, “If you vote for Bush you are an asshole” sticker on the back of his SG. Nice. Jason Isbell never missed an opportunity to put his foot on the monitor during one of his many many guitar solos. He also took a lot more lead vocals on the night, reflecting his greater contributions to The Dirty South. I couldn’t believe that whiskey-soaked rasp was coming from the baby-faced guitarist standing in front of me (and nearly smacking me in the head with the headstock of his Strat on more than one occasion). That was probably the most fully ROCK show I’ve seen since My Morning Jacket last year (who were as beareded as they sound). My only complaints on the night? No “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac”, my favourite tune from the new record, and excessively-priced merch. $30 for a copy of Southern Rock Opera? No. But it was a great show all around and their reputation is well-deserved.

I can’t say I’m really happy with my pics from last night – it was my first club show with the G3 and I’m still sorting things out. Everything is underexposed and undersaturated and there’s more noise than I’d like. The gallery is something of a dog’s breakfast of settings and shooting modes as I was constantly looking for the right combination, and I don’t think I ever quite found it. I’m going to be sitting down the the manual again today to see if there’s something I’m setting incorrectly.

Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo will be opening both shows at the Horseshoe next weekend for The Sadies, replacing Rick White of The Unintended/Elevator/Eric’s Trip. I saw Keelor open for them a few years ago as a last-minute replacement for Beachwood Sparks and he did a whole set of Lee Hazlewood covers with the Sadies as his backing band. It was a little surreal – I guess there’s a lot of stuff he doesn’t get to indulge in at his day job. These shows are a CD release party for the Sadies’ new album, Favourite Colours, which I picked up this weekend. It’s quite good – they’ve gotten more and more song-oriented and focused with each successive album and that trend continues here. It’s their shortest record yet but also their most cohesive, concentrating a little bit more on atmosphere and feel than frenzied musicianship, but don’t worry – there’s still plenty of insane guitar playing on offer.

Even though the entire series will be available on DVD come December 7, Wonderfalls will finally be returning to television – in Canada, anyways – on Vision TV starting October 4 and running Mondays at 9pm. Vision’s mandate is “faith and inspirational” television, in case you were wondering. Never thought I’d see the day when a heathen like me would be watching Vision.

Mm, having some trouble writing today. Brain not firing. Hope to have synapses back in line for the Old 97s tonight.

np – Steve Earle / The Revolution Starts… Now

By : Frank Yang at 12:38 pm
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Aaron says:


    It may be expensive, but Southern Rock Opera is totally worth the money. It blows Decoration Day and The Dirty South away in my opinion. Go get it.

  2. Shaun says:

    You Canadians are so lucky. If only PAX would pick up Wonderfalls…sigh. I’d almost convert from Deism for it(but only for new episodes).

  3. Jeff says:

    That was a great review…i too was there and the show was rocked….tracklist anyone? hah!

    just a couple things: the guitarist’s name is Jason Isbell (not Isobell), and southern rock opera is a 2 disc set, so 30 isn’t too bad.

    (i picked up a copy for 27 at rotate a few months back)

    keep up the good work with the pics :)

  4. Frank says:

    yeah, I only found out SRO was a double, like, today. So $30 might have been reasonable after all – I’ll be looking for a copy through some avenue, though.