Bobby Bare Jr. | 06.11.07

live_bbarejrBobby Bare Jr. is like a coffee table with one short leg. He's completely unstable and he rocks.






Off Broadway, St. Louis

"Let's pretend that Dolly Parton and Kenny Loggins are in the back, covered in cocaine and strawberries!" Bobby Bare Jr. is like a coffee table with one short leg. He's completely unstable and he rocks. While I wouldn't trust him with a pair of scissors, the same quality that makes him unhinged also allows him to be a great performer. It's like seeing a train wreck on stage, but in a good way. Coming off his latest album, The Longest Meow, Bare Jr. brought his band of hired goons along with his strange blend of country, rock, and eccentricity back to St. Louis.

I want to make a quick note about the opening act, Caleb Travers and the Big City Lights. Mundane hooks and predictability get bands nowhere. Where Bobby Bare Jr. makes country music new again, Travers and his group fall right into the trap of cliché and bad lyrics. The band itself was tight as a live act, but they quickly wore out their welcome. It was a strange and uninteresting choice for an opener and it came across as such with a bored and lost crowd by the end of their set. Oh, and an hour set for a local act? No, thank you.

Bobby Bare Jr. apparently ate some bad Chinese food at the Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, Kans., the day before his show in St. Louis. This had no effect on how much energy went into his set however. The man was completely on point. An interesting mix of shotgun rock songs and quiet acoustic numbers blended well into a showcase of balls and folky goodness. The three musicians Bare Jr. brought with him sounded like ten, easy, the sound they produced louder than most modern metal bands. Who would've thought a baritone sax could be so powerful on stage? As good as the band was, they seemed almost completely unorganized, shouting song names, a set list lacking order, as if the mood of their leader could change on a dime, making the night a complete crap shoot.

After a "lazy encore," wherein Bobby refused to leave the stage, the band blasted through two more chaotic numbers and called it a night, Bobby rushing straight to the bar, the rest of the band wandering off stage after a couple of confusing minutes. "Are we done now?" Unorganized chaos, beer, and a satisfied crowd spilling over the club – that's how it's done. | Chris Schott

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