Backyard Tire Fire | 4.2.10

These boys are writing killer songs, playing their asses off all over the country.

 The Old Rock House, St. Louis, MO

BTF’s newest album, Good To Be was released in February (see my review here on PlaybackSTL) and has been generally well-received.  I personally consider it the best album of 2010 thus far and was therefore as giddy as a 14-year-old girl when I got to the Old Rock House on Friday night.  After an acoustic set of rowdy drinking anthems from local folksters Joe Stickley and Sean Canan, Backyard Tire Fire mounted the stage, plugged in their Les Pauls and proceeded to melt many faces.

The rocking ode to touring that is “Road Song #39” opens their latest record and it was an equally suitable way to crack open the show.  When Ed Anderson sings about “a belly full of booze, ears ringin at the end of the set” you know he’s speaking the truth: BTF is a touring machine.  You also know that he’s not complaining one bit. The band followed up with “Ready or Not,” the second song on the record, and it dovetails with the opening tune just as well live.

The band broke out a brand-new unrecorded tune for the third act and then cruised through a mix of older tunes and most of the tracks from the new album.  The blend of character-driven songs (“Estelle,” “Brady”) and life-on-the-road odes (“Learning To Swim,” “A Thousand Gigs Ago”) were punctuated by a pair of notable covers: Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” and the somewhat obscure “Only You”—a Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac rocker penned by Danny Kirwan that had my jaw on the floor.  Ed Anderson and the band’s touring guitarist Scott Tipping exchanged blazing volleys of distorted Les Paul fury over the sprawling, tribal rumble provided by bassist Matt Anderson and drummer Tim Kramp.  Definitely a “holy shit!” moment for yours truly.

My only gripe of the evening was that the show seemed tragically under-attended.  Maybe it’s because too many folks made the (wrong) choice of attending the Tegan and Sara show across town that night.  Maybe it’s because the second floor area was open, but that place should have been absolutely packed.  These boys are writing killer songs, playing their asses off all over the country, and are from the distant St. Louis suburb of Bloomington, Illinois.  OK, maybe that last one is a stretch, but maybe that’s the problem: BTF aren’t from New York or SoCal or Brazil or some other exotic locale that would entice the PBR-swilling hipsters away from their music blogs and into the show.  They are from central Illinois, a land that tends to breed blue-collar values, brutal honesty and little patience for extraneous bullshit. Hell, maybe that’s why I like them so much: I was born there.

The folks that were at the show were clearly having the time of their lives, though.  Probably because they know what so many others are destined to discover:  Backyard Tire Fire flat out fucking rock. | Corey Woodruff

See more pictures from the show here.


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