Drive-By Truckers Deftly Navigate Career Spanning Set at Brooklyn Bowl (SHOW REVIEW)

The second night of their two show Brooklyn Bowl stand (3/30) found the Drive-By Truckers in solid form as they blasted out two full hours of engaging guitar rock to the receptive crowd on Good Friday/Passover. Alternating between front men Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley the group (Brad Morgan on drums, Matt Patton on Bass and multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez) deftly navigated a career spanning set as well as a few choice covers.

Strolling onto the stage to the sounds of The Clash’s “Train In Vain” the band started the night by bookending their most recent album American Band as opener “Ramon Casiano” and “Baggage” got all involved warmed up. The excellent “Gravity’s Gone” displayed Cooley’s lyrical wit while his slide guitar was the focal point on “Buttholeville” but it was the early arrival of “Ronnie and Neil” which had the Friday night crowd throwing fists in the air and singing along.
“Marry Me” was also a clear highlight on the night as the three guitar attack of Hood, Gonzalez and Cooley all took ripping solo’s, with Gonzalez adding organ work as well; the band showed off their live flair and stage presence over a cooking beat. Gonzalez is the not so secret weapon for the group as he can fluidly play lead guitar and piano (almost at the same time) like on “Ghost to Most” during this show.

DBT tilted up the darkness for the mood-setting “Used To Be A Cop” before throwing it back old school for the swaying “Why Henry Drinks” as the chunky riffs from “Lookout Mountain” and the heavy drumming during “Pauline Hawkins” added stomp and thunder to the night. “Shit Shot Counts” also played with metallic guitar work, motoring along while the crowd joined in singing with liquored up lungs for “Women Without Whiskey”.

Two covers on this night really captured the group’s sound and stance as Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper” was seamlessly segued from the end of “Buttholeville” as the full band blew the hell out of the restrained Nebraska track. Later on Matt Patton stepped to the microphone for an amazing Joey Ramone impersonation on the Hey Ho infused “The KKK Took My Baby Away”.

Against a hard cutoff the band skipped the encore and just amped the guitars closing out the night the night with the loud angst-filled “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy”. It seemed the quintet could have kept rocking, but the typical strong set proves that over twenty-two years into their career the Drive-By Truckers still thrive in the live spotlight.

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