Drive-By Truckers | 03.28.09

drivebytruckers_photo07_300dpi.jpgTaking more than a couple swigs off a bottle of Jack Daniels, bad-ass bassist Shonna Tucker got bolder by the second, once again proving her chops and her place in this good old boys club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pageant, St. Louis

Perhaps it was the fact that the show was a reschedule of an earlier date cancelled due to Patterson Hood having pneumonia; or perhaps it was the less-than-ideal March rain/snow storm that blew through last Saturday night. Either way, Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers played to a less-than-packed house of seemingly less-than-enthusiastic fans – giving a noble effort, but coming up a bit short.

Heading to the show in the driving rain, my expectations were high on the memory of the Truckers’ performance at this venue just over a year ago with the incredible Felice Brothers – a jam-packed, high-energy show that rocked the Pageant to its core. Somehow this time they just didn’t seem to be feeling it, and the audience didn’t so much either. This is not to say they didn’t sound good – they did, and there were certainly some moments of brilliance; but overall there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect.

They kicked off the show with the subtle "Uncle Frank" with Mike Cooley on lead vocal duties, not exactly coming out with a bang but still sounding strong. Then front man Patterson Hood took over, swaggering about the stage in his typical fashion, cranking it up for heavy-hitters like "Lookout Mountain" and "Hell No, I Ain’t Happy" and bringing it down to a soft croon for the more introspective "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife" and "Opening Act," from the band’s last release, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark.

Cooley took his turn in the spotlight for a nice version of the upbeat "3 Dimes Down" from Brighter, as well as "When the Pin Hits the Shell" from Decoration Day.

Taking more than a couple swigs off a bottle of Jack Daniels, bad-ass bassist Shonna Tucker got bolder by the second, once again proving her chops and her place in this good old boys club. She even got in a couple of her own tunes from Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, the catchy "Home Field Advantage" and sweet, soulful "I’m Sorry Huston." A lot of big sounds come out of this petite woman and she more than holds her own.

As the show went on, the band seemed to delve in a bit deeper and connect with the audience more with some hard-driving quintessential Truckers fare like "Sink Hole," "Where the Devil Won’t Stay," "Puttin’ People on the Moon" and the classic "Ronnie and Neil" from the band’s 2001 masterpiece, Southern Rock Opera.

I think the highlight for me may actually have been their unbelievable cover of Alice Cooper’s classic song of teenage angst, "I’m 18." This was the point in the show in which everyone in the room was banging their heads, pumping their fists and screaming along with Hood, "I’m 18 and I like it!"

After about an hour and half set, the Truckers left the stage for a short break, then returned for an encore that included a raucous cover of Bruce Springsteen’s "State Trooper" amid fan-favorite Truckers anthem "Buttholeville."

It certainly does sound good on paper, and it was good – just not as great as I’ve seen this band be in the past. I’m chalking it up to an off night and hoping next time the Truckers roll through town, they’ll be more on their game. | Amy Burger

 
 

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