Sunday, May 8, 2011

Two Cow Garage/Les Honky More Tonkies @ The Basement, Nashville, TN 05-06-2011

When you see a bill for Two Cow Garage and Les Honky More Tonkies you can't help but be drawn to this show just for having two of the greatest band names ever. I love Two Cow Garage and found out about them being in town sort of last minute. Two Cow has a sound that fits perfect with Lucero and Slobberbone (if you are not fans of those bands I need to give you an open hand slap). Micah's vocals are very distinct and I would even say he is like a male Lucinda Williams in that regard (if you are not a Lucinda Williams fan you deserve a Ric Flair slap across the chest complete with a loud WHOOOOOOOOOO. If you don't know who Ric Flair is, get off my blog). I love Micah's vocals and was looking forward to a night of Two Cow live.

I arrived at the Basement and the doors were still not open as Les Honky More Tonkies were soundchecking so I actually got a preshow show from them. Listening to the soundcheck through the walls I immediately thought they had a Drivin N Cryin sound, a thought which was justified at the end of the set. More on that later. Not long after getting inside, Les Honky More Tonkies took the stage and immediately gained a new fan. They have a very southern rock sound to them and I hope to see them on some bigger stages soon. I am not real sure of the setlist. They played eight songs which included "Heartbroke and Faithless", "Old Milwaukee Girl" a song that I think has "Hero" in the title, a song about "Cheatam County" and they closed it with not just a Drivin N Cryin cover but my favorite DNC song "Honeysuckle Blue". If you see these guys playing in your area do yourselves a favor and check them out.

This was my first time to see Two Cow Garage but I was forewarned by my friend Big Brent that it will be high energy and loud. Big Brent was right. When they took the stage they looked rather tame but as soon as they started playing "Humble Narrator" it was on. I was waiting for Micah to smack Shane in the head with his guitar or even worse, a fan up front. I love arena shows but there is something about seeing a band in a small club that is raw. I was able to be spitting distance from the band and to see the love they have of playing in that environment is a special thing. The band didn't have a setlist so don't expect one from me but I can tell you that there was not a dud among the set. I was very happy to hear "Swingset Assassin" and was fortunate enough to get it on video (see below). The set was closed with "Bastards and Bridesmaids" and that alone was worth the price of admission.

Two Cow fall tend to get placed in the alt country genre, and maybe rightfully so, but I can tell you that their show has a punk feel to it. The attendance for the show was terrible and I hope this doesn't discourage the band. They still played like it was a packed house and I get the feeling they would play the same if they were playing for ten thousand people or just a bartender. They are truly doing what they love and you can't put a price on that. If these guys hit your town on tour, PLEASE go see them. We need to keep bands like this going so they will keep making music.

Sidenotes: The band had an accident on the way and Cody sold the lady a CD that hit them. Awesome. I also had to laugh when the band pulls up in their van and there is a big logo on the side for I am afraid to ask what that is.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Bob Seger Concert Review - Nashville, TN 04-21-2011

First of all, let me say it is good to be back. At the end of March I went on vacation for a week and I have been experiencing some severe post vacation depression. I admit it, I have the same number of reasons to be depressed as Rosie O'Donnell does to think she is attractive. Not one. Throw in the mix the anniversary dates for the deaths of at least half dozen musicians I liked and it made it worse. Listening to weeks of Type O Negative and Alice In Chains/Mad Season will lift you out of depression like fried chocolate pies will make you lose weight. I needed a good concert to bring me out of the funk and I was thinking Bob Seger just might do it.

To start the evening off I had a Robert Plant flashback and was in fear I would not make the show. I left work from Jackson, TN a few minutes early and planned on getting to the arena and do some prime people watching but as I approached Nashville the interstate was on lockdown. I still have no idea what happened but I became a part of a parking lot and then the anxiety set in. My wife will tell you, if you want to set me on edge, make me late for something. I am sure there are some professional terms for what I experience. I personally just don't understand being late and it drives me nuts. Finally traffic picks up to a snail's pace and I am less than a mile from an exit so I take it and I now publicly apologize to all Middle TN motorists. If you were being tailgated and screamed at by a black car driven by someone who looks like Powder, I meant you no harm.

I make it to my seat as the opening band is about to play their last song. It is a cover of CCR's Fortunate Son. Based on that, I liked them/him, whoever they were. Finally the moment I have been waiting 30 years for, to see Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band live. Their reputation is one that will be hard to live up to, especially now that they all qualify for the senior discount at Shoney's but previous reviews had me very optimistic. The lights go dark and the stage fills up and I mean fills up. There were almost as many band members on stage as there were kids in my 8th grade graduation class. Bob kicked things off with Roll Me Away and I have to say he sounded good. Bob may be looking old these days, I think he is 65 so it is excusable, but he has kept his voice and he still can work a crowd. After Roll Me Away it just became hit after hit after hit. When you have a career that spans 40 years it has to be difficult to choose a set list but it was very well rounded and he pulled out some unexpected stuff for this tour to keep it fresh. The Against The Wind album was heavily represented, and that is a good thing, as it is a masterpiece and I have very fond childhood memories from that album (actually it was a neighbor's 8 track). One of the surprising highlights was Old Time Rock and Roll. That song is one of the most played out songs on classic rock radio but hearing it live with the crowd participation gave it new life to me, at least for a night and it even got a little booty shake from me. The chill bump of the night was Turn The Page. It is hard to believe that song is 40 years old. The flawless performance of it was only part of the moment. The crowd singing along was so loud they almost drowned out Bob and to hear thousands of people singing that song is chill bump worthy. I have heard Metallica and Jamey Johnson perform Turn The Page live, and both were good, but Bob showed us last night why that was his song. At the end of set we got a little surprise as Kid Rock came out and joined Bob for Real Mean Bottle. Kid Rock's respect for Bob Seger is real and watching them on stage together was like watching two old friends just hanging out and having a good time. It was contagious.

Like all bands, except Ozzy, Bob and the band leave the stage to build up for not one, but two encores. The crowd definitely showed a lot of love at this time. I think everyone knows that Bob probably doesn't have a lot of touring left in him and this might be the last time we see him. He performed the longest set list of any arena act I have seen, except Springsteen, in a long time. The setlist, as well as some photos and video I took, are below. The setlist is top notch(except for no You'll Accompany Me). The video quality isn't as good as it should have been. I somehow changed the settings and it didn't record in HD but it is still decent quality.

Roll Me Away
Tryin' To Live My Life Without You
Fire Down Below
Old Time Rock and Roll
Downtown Train
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
C'est La Vie (You Never Can Tell)
Good For Me
Shining Brightly
Travelin Man
Beautiful Loser
Nutbush City Limits
Come To Poppa
Her Strut
Betty Lou's Getting Out Tonight
We've Got Tonight
Turn The Page
Sunspot Baby
Horizontal Bop
Real Mean Bottle (with Kid Rock)
Encore 1:
Against The Wind
Hollywood Nights
Encore 2:
Night Moves
Rock and Roll Never Forgets

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Truckstop Darlin' Review

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Portland, Oregon? To be honest, I never think of Portland unless there is a trivia question involving which NBA team holds the honor for most convicted players on a team. In the same regard I highly doubt a lot of people in Portland think of Nashville unless the subject of inbreeding or something deep fried comes up in conversation. So, imagine my very pleasant surprise to discover the thriving alt-country, Americana music scene in the great Northwest. It seems that every other band I come across these days is from that scene. Truckstop Darlin' caught my attention as they made several top ten best of 2010 lists. They may be a long way from the deep south but I can tell you that they would fit just fine unless they publicly denounced fried chicken and BBQ.

As soon as I purchased this CD I knew by the end of it that it would be on heavy rotation. When it comes to music, everyone has their own opinion of what is a good or bad song. My opinion of Truckstop Darlin' self titled CD is that it gets better the deeper the tracks go. That isn't to say the opening tracks are weak, far from it, just that by the time the last track is played you are wanting more. The final track "Daniel Johnston" is my favorite track and if you are familiar with Daniel Johnston you will really appreciate this song. A close second is the track "Broken Valentine". The lyrics "she drives an 84 Camaro/Pin stripes blacker than her eyes/Black vinyl seats and old crow whiskey/she might just kill herself tonight" are describing someone we have all encountered in life and in some cases have probably known to have the tragic end result. #19 is another rockin' tune that would fit in nicely with the DBT catalog, yes, it is that good. I honestly do not consider any songs to be filler on this CD as they all are well written and played with passion.

Too often today you hear folks saying the music industry is dead, blah, blah, blah. Major labels may be suffering but is anyone really shedding a tear over that. I have honestly found more great music the last couple of years than I have the last decade. The independent bands still struggle as they always have but now the playing field is a little more level thanks to the internet. This gives me hope that bands like Truckstop Darlin will be able to continue to supply us with quality music for years to come. I don't know if they will ever tour the Southeast or not but I can say with confidence I will be there if they do.

Daniel Johnston

Broken Valentine


South Carolina

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Charlie Sheen Soundtrack Edition

I personally hate American news as it is mostly nothing more than entertainment stories not remotely related to anything happening in the real world. I am embarrassed to admit I know who Snooki and The Situation are. However, sometimes a celeb story comes along that grabs my attention and just as the pile ups are the only thing that interests me about NASCAR, Charlie Sheen is the major wreck of Hollywood that has made me watch. As I see more and more of the interview clips I am convinced that Charlie has left the shallow end and dove head first into the deep end of the death pool. He is my dark horse for 2011. Today, in honor of Charlie, I have put together a Charlie Sheen playlist and I hope you enjoy it.

Waylon Jennings - I've Always Been Crazy

Dax Riggs - Waking Up Insane

Black Label Society - Crazy Or High

Fight - Little Crazy

David Lee Roth - Goin' Crazy

Guns N Roses - You're Crazy

Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Drive By Trucker - Go Go Boots Review

I meant to post a blog late last night but I made the mistake of putting on some Dax Riggs music and I almost lost the will to live. After hiding the razor blades and a good night of sleep I have finally gotten off my lazy butt to blog....well sort of. I had two I am behind on and I knew there was no way I was doing two today so I had to make the choice between the reviewing the Jamey Johnson/Kid Rock concert or the new Drive By Trucker CD. DBT wins.

Those of you that know me well know that I am a huge Drive By Trucker nutswinger so it is logical to question if I can write an unbiased review of their music. Short The band could release a CD of Patterson, Cooley and Shonna farting and I would probably compare it to Crosby, Stills and Nash or Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers when they were all in their prime. I also am not going to give a Rolling Stone type review that is so full of hot air and big words that mean nothing that it leaves the reader still wondering if the music is good or not. If you are like me, all you need to know is if it sucks or not. I am going to do a track by track breakdown and rate it on a scale of five.

1. I Do Believe - This is my least favorite song on the CD and they open with it so my initial hopes for the CD were grim. I would classify it as filler but Patterson must really like it to make it track 1. I give it a 2.5/5

2. Go Go Boots - Give Patterson a news story containing some preaching and some killing and he is going to make a great song out of it. He did it on "The Big To Do" with The Wig He Made Her Wear, which I loved (I went to high school in Selmer, TN, which is where that story occurred), and I think he topped it with Go Go Boots. As the song unfolds you are taking in every line wanting to see what happened next. Very strong track. 4/5

3. Dancin' Ricky - This is Shonna's first track on the CD and I am going to label this one a grower. The first couple of plays I didn't like it at all but after about 15 plays, I am starting to like it. I much prefer her other track on the CD but this one is okay. 3/5

4. Cartoon Gold - Finally we got a Cooley track. Cooley is the most consistent writer of the band. It is rare that you get a track from him that is not solid and he delivers big time on Go Go Boots. Cooley's lyrics are not always clear when it comes to their meanings but he can work phrases and words like no one else. Cartoon Gold falls into that category. 5/5

5. Ray's Automatic Weapon - This is my 2nd favorite Patterson song on the CD. They opened the last two Nashville shows with it and at the time I was unfamiliar with the song but after getting the studio version I cannot stop playing it. In typical DBT fashion the song has some rather dark lyrics yet I think it is one of the more catchy tunes on the CD. 4.5/5

6. Everybody Needs Love - This is the first of the Eddie Hinton songs they cover and I had heard them do it live several months before the CD release. The song is very well done and it opens up the music of Eddie Hinton to a new fan base. I was unaware of who he was until DBT were praising him. Eddie died in 1995 but thanks to DBT they are helping keep his music alive. I really like this song and give it a 4/5

7. Assholes - I am not sure who Patterson wrote this song for but I think the title pretty well sums up how he was feeling. It has a nice sing along feel to it, despite the anger in the lyrics. I like it. 4/5

8. The Weakest Man - Cooley, acoustic guitar, need I say more. I love this song and give him another 5/5

9. Used To Be A Cop - This song I didn't like at first but once I listened to the lyrics it told a great story and it has grown on me a lot. I think as you listen to the song you will think of someone you know. 3.5/5 (might become a 4 at some point)

10. The Fireplace Poker - Preachers and killin'. This one is much more brutal as you get a lot of the details of the murder. A truly tragic story. Patterson must be a habitual viewer of TruTV and I can see him grabbing a notepad every time one of these stories are spotlighted. 4/5

11. Where's Eddie - This is another Eddie Hinton track and Shonna does a great job on this song. I have seen a video of this being performed at a soundcheck and the live version is better but that is not to take away anything from the studio version. 4/5

12. The Thanksgiving Filter - I love this song. It makes me think of all of those holiday movies with the crazy family members and then you have the people arguing over politics, etc. We all can relate to this song in some form or fashion. 4/5

13. Pulaski - Same as #8. Cooley with his acoustic guitar equals win. This song is something anyone growing up in a small town can relate too. You think the big city will be different but in the end you still long for and miss your small home town. 5/5

14. Mercy Buckets - This is my favorite Patterson song on the CD. I heard the live version first and it blew me away. I think this is one of the best songs Patterson has ever written and it closes out the CD stong. 5/5

Overall this is a good release. Their last CD was more of a rock record and they have gone the opposite direction with Go Go Boots. Go Go Boots is slowed down and has that Muscle Shoals sound. Cooley is acoustic on all three of his tracks and my one complaint is that he only has three tracks. My first play of the CD left me unsure of how I would like it but with each play I have grown to love it more and more. If you prefer your music to be light on subject matter and a bit poppy, this isn't for you. DBT sing about the hardships of life that they have seen and experienced and that is why they have such a dedicated fan base. It is real life.

Mercy Buckets


Ray's Automatic Weapon

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ozzy Osbourne/Slash - Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN February 16, 2011

Ozzy used to be a name that struck fear in parents and to be honest, he scared me just as much when I was in junior high but I was still drawn to his music. Blizzard, Diary, Bark At The Moon and the Ultimate Sin were in heavy rotation in junior high and high school. The end of my high school days and start of my college life was consumed with GNR's Appetite for Destruction so with these two forces of Ozzy and Slash combining at the Bridgestone Arena I was looking for a fun filled show.

The ticket stub stated the start time at 7:30 but thanks to following Slash on Twitter I knew he was starting the shows early, at 7:20. Axl.....take note, Slash starts his shows EARLY. I know that is a foreign concept but you should try it. Yes, I am still bitter over having to wait for you for three hours in 1992. Anyway, Slash has a wide catalog of material to choose from and I think he did a great job of representing all stages of his career. The show opened with "Ghost" from his latest solo CD and Myles Kennedy proved why Slash chose him to be his vocalist on this tour. The second song was "Mean Bone" from the second Snakepit CD and then they kicked things into high gear with "Nighttrain". Anyone not yet on their feet were at the opening of "Nighttrain" and they were up for the rest of the set. After another Snakepit tune, they launched into "My Michelle" and "Rocket Queen" and at this point Myles had me thinking "Axl who?". The band and the crowd were feeding off of each other's energy and it didn't stop when the next two songs performed were from the new CD. The new material got a great response, as it should have, but it was nothing compared to the eruption that occurred when Slash hit the opening note to "Sweet Child of Mine". At this point in the show I was thinking that Slash needs to return to Nashville soon as a headliner. Things didn't let up after Sweet Child as they ripped into Velvet Revolver's "Slither" and then closed the set with "Paradise City." I was expecting a good set from Slash and Co. but they far exceeded my expectations. I can honestly say they were one of, if not the best, opening bands I have ever seen. They definitely got the crowd warmed up for Ozzy and I feared Ozzy would have a hard time competing. If you are a fan of GNR, VR, or a Slash solo, this is a show you must not miss. The entire band is solid and Myles Kennedy is a phenomenal vocalist. He was hitting Axl notes that Axl can't hit anymore. Slash looked so happy on stage with these guys and it makes me wonder if a GNR reunion would be worth the headaches of dealing with Axl. I hope Slash continues to work with these guys in the future and I hope to see them in Nashville again soon. They were so good they made me forget about Slash's appearance with the Black Eye Peas at the Superbowl and that is saying a lot.

After a VERY short break the lights went down and a video montage of Ozzy in various movies, TV shows and videos was shown. This showed Ozzy's great sense of humor and it was worth it all just to see him as a cast member of The Jersey Shore and Twilight. As the video ends, Ozzy walks out on stage and greets the crowd and then announces "Let the madness begin". And so it did. While Ozzy has gone Lorena Bobbitt and cut the setlist short, the hits never stopped coming. Opening with one of my favorites "Bark at the Moon", it really got the crowd fired up for a night of some classic Oz. Ozzy wisely played the one new song early in the set and "Scream" was well received but let's face it, we want old school Ozzy/Sabbath and when Scream ended that is what we got the rest of the night. "Mr. Crowley" was next and it was this song that Ozzy took the opportunity to bring out the foam cannon for the first time. Only at a rock and roll show can people get so excited about being sprayed with foam by a senior citizen. I couldn't tell who was enjoying it more, Ozzy or the crowd. Ozzy is like a big kid, which is a good thing, and his love of the crowd seems genuine as he was smiling all night long. In 20 years he has evolved from the Prince of Darkness to the lovable, down to earth, humorous Ozzy. As the set continued with the standard Ozzy hits it was the Sabbath tunes that generated the greatest response. "War Pigs" was one of those goose bump moments as thousands of people are singing those classic lyrics at the top of their lungs. "Rat Salad" was thrown into the mix and gave Ozzy a chance to rest as the band showcased their talents. With a rhythm section that formerly were part of Rob Zombie's band, bassist Blasko and drummer Tommy Clufetos, it was easy to see why Ozzy wanted to hire these guys as they are both very skillful and also good showmen. New guitarist Gus G did a very fine job of replacing Zakk Wylde. I hope Ozzy keeps him for awhile and Gus gets his chance to shine as other past Ozzy guitarists have. The set ended with "Crazy Train" and I knew the band would leave the stage and be back for the encore. However, Ozzy never left the stage and instead the band kicked off the encore with "Mama I'm Coming Home" and ended with the always crowd frenzied "Paranoid" and I can't think of a better way to end it.

Ozzy only played 14 songs. As the tour has progressed the set has gone from 20 songs to 14 so I am assuming it is to save Ozzy's voice and to keep him rested. If you are a diehard Ozzy/Sabbath fan it is a show worth attending, especially with a strong warm up band like Slash. If you are just a casual fan I would say it might not be worth the money. The show ended at 10:00pm which means Ozzy could have played up to another hour. I loved the show and the setlist but I do wish he had included at least a couple more songs. Touring is probably not easy on Ozzy and I am not sure how many tours he has left in him so I am glad I went. I personally feel like it is the touring and the fans that keep him going and if that is true I hope to see him again soon.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Songs For The Weekend

This blog was supposed to have been a Robert Plant review but due to the weather I, along with most ticketholders, were unable to attend. The venue and promoter didn't see the need to cancel the show. I will refrain from publicly ripping them for now. I have complained enough that the promoter has asked me to call on Monday. So, if I get a refund, I will not mention it again. If no refund is given I will be back to publicly bash all those involved.

In the meantime, enjoy some fine music. These are all tracks that have been heavy on my Ipod rotation this week.

1. Social Distortion - California (Hustle and Flow)
Social D's new CD Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is getting a lot of play from me. The track California (Hustle and Flow) is one of those tunes that makes you just want to get in the car and drive.

2. Lucero - The Mountain
This song will result in me getting a speeding ticket. This is my favorite Lucero song.

3. Slobberbone - Barrel Chested
I still remember the first time I heard this song in the summer of 97. I was in Dallas for work and a local radio show played this song. I have been a Slobberbone fan ever since.

4. Ironwood Bluff - Slip
Ironwood Bluff are some up and comers from Tupelo, MS. I like these guys and I hope you do too. Slip is from their new CD. Check it out.

5. Breathing Machine - Highway
These guys disbanded after this CD but it is solid from start to finish. If you can find it I highly recommend you pick it up.