Review: Drive-By Truckers at the Ogden Theatre, 3/9/12
DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS @ OGDEN THEATRE | 03.09.12
The last time the Drive-By Truckers came through town they wrapped up a leg of a tour with a two-night stand at the Ogden Theatre a year ago. This time around, the guys kicked off a West Coast run at the same venue. Maybe it was having some off the road, but the guys seemed relaxed yet energized last night and put the pedal to the metal early in the set, playing to a packed Ogden.
The band took the stage while Otis Redding's "Shout Bamalama" played on the house system. Although there was a full bottle of Jack Daniels sitting on an amp case, frontman Patterson Hood cracked the seal of bottle of Patron and handed it to a gal in the front row who took a swig before passing it back to Hood.
The band then launched into "Fourth Night of My Drinking," the first of many songs that featured the three-guitar attack of Hood, Mike Cooley and John Neff. Matt Patton, who was taking over bass duties after Shonna Tucker left the band last year, looked like he was having a lot of fun, head bobbing and a wide grin that lasted pretty much the whole show. A member of the Dexateens, Patton's playing had a bit of a punk edge and for the most part had no trouble keeping up with rest of the guys.
Early on the Truckers fired through revved up takes on "Sink Hole" and "Buttholeville," which segued into Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper," and the band was absolutely firing on cylinders on "Get Downtown." After running though Eddie Hinton's buoyant and soulful "Everybody Needs Love," the band pulled back the reigns a bit and slowed things down on the country-tinged acoustic tunes "Cartoon Gold" and "Box of Spiders," before ramping things up again on "A Ghost to Most" and then pushing it even harder a few songs later with "Birthday Boy," which went right into "Girls Who Smoke," a vinyl bonus track from The Big To-Do.
The Truckers didn't really favor one album in particular, but instead drew from three or four tracks from different albums, including their two latest efforts, last year's Go-Go Boots and 2010's The Big To-Do. While songs from Brighter Than Creation's Dark and Decoration Day packed a lot of punch, especially the three-guitar blast and the crowd singing along to "Hell No I Ain't Happy,' the songs from Southern Rock Opera might have been the strongest of the night, especially "Let There Be Rock" and "Zip City" during the encore.
"This is a song about how rock and roll saved my life when I was a teenager in small, little fucked Alabama town," Hood said in the beginning of "Let There Be Rock." "I want to send this out to anybody in the audience or anybody up here on the stage who grew up in a small, little backwards fucked up Alabama town, or a Ohio town, or a New York Town, or a South Carolina town. Or whatever kind of fucked up little town you grew up in. Here's to making it out alive."
Hood changed the lyrics a bit on "Let There Be Rock" and dropped in a line, "I never saw the Clash, but I saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band." By the time the band got to the "with Bon Scott singing, 'let there be rock'" line, many a fist in the crowd was up in the air.
"Lookout Mountain" ramped up to epic ending with Cooley shredding and then Truckers kicked into a blistering take on Jim Carroll's "People Died" with Hood dropping a few more names of people who died like Jerry Wexler and Vic Chesnutt during a slow, psychedelic breakdown in the middle of the song. After jumping back into a breakneck tempo again, the band rode it out for a few more choruses. A hell of way to close out the show.
Personal Bias:It's hard to imagine these guys ever putting on a bad show. Random Detail: Lots of beards and baseball caps in the crowd. By The Way: While opener Robert Ellis clearly has a handle on slower country ballads, the two uptempo country tunes he played were outstanding and I was hoping he and and his band would do a bit more of that. After all, the dudes are opening for the Truckers.
Drive-By Truckers Ogden Theatre - 3/9/12 Denver, CO
Fourth Night of My Drinking 3 Dimes Down Used to be a Cop Self Destructive Zones Sink Hole Where the Devil Don't Stay Buttholeville--> State Trooper Get Downtown Everybody Needs Love Cartoon Gold Box of Spiders A Ghost to Most My Sweet Annette Women Without Whiskey Goode's Field Road Birthday Boy Girls Who Smoke Ronnie and Neil Uncle Frank Hell No I Ain't Happy
Marry Me Let There Be Rock Zip City Lookout Mountain People Who Died
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music