Drive by Truckers: The Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA 3/13/13

I found out pretty much all I needed to know about the Drive By Truckers (DBT) in the five minutes they were gracious enough to spend with me prior to last night’s show. 

Having been introduced to the Athens, Georgia based band members Mike Cooley (Guitar, Vocal), Brad Morgan (drums), and Matt Patton (bass), I asked them for a copy of the night’s set list. A set list is apparently a foreign concept to the DBT’s who draw from roughly 80 songs on any given night.  The other thing I learned was that these guys are extremely happy to be playing music in the DBT’s.

Despite no local radio airplay, (does any real band get played on commercial radio anymore?) or other promotion, the Paradise was filled to capacity.  Further it seemed like the audience had this date circled on the calendar for a while.  When the band lit into “Where the Devil Don’t Stay” opener, the crowd’s anxious buzz of anticipation turned to hootin’, hollerin’ enthusiasm.  

The Trucker’s had enough gear and a large enough entourage of techs and roadies to play the European festival circuit. Stage left was Jay Gonzalez (guitar, Keyboards).  Sharing guitar and vocal duties with Cooley was Patterson Hood, a large, imposing bearded figure. 

“Devil” was followed by the softer, melodic, extended “Used to be a Cop” with the three guitar players trading licks over the solid bass and drum rhythm section.  The third song of the evening, “Ghost to Most” a commercial sounding ditty featured Cooley’s confident, drawling, baritone vocal.  Cooley and Patterson continued to trade vocals on the early numbers, the heavier “Lookout Mountain” and “When the Pin Hits the Shell”.  Things slowed down with, “Sandwiches for the Road”, but even when the DBT’s are soft they are not subtle.

Don’t let the cowboy boots and the “good ol’ boy vibe” fool you.  The DBT’s are seriously talented, story telling, rock and rolling, jamming musicians.

The show hit stride with “Marry Me”, starting, “Well my Daddy didn’t pull out, but he never apologized/Rock and roll means well, but it can’t help telling you boys lies. “  Followed by a deep, deep Warren Zevon cut, “Play It All Night Long” with Hood’s vocals emphasizing, “There ain’t much to country living/Sweat, piss, jizz and blood”.  After the swamp bluesy, “Woman Without Whiskey”, well over an hour into the show the band finally acknowledged the crowd with Cooley, jokingly saying “Show us your tits!” to one of the more attractive audience members before quickly apologizing, “No, no, no.” Hood then set up the back-story behind, “The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town”.  The set closed with an audience sing along to “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy”.   The irony being the audience couldn’t be happier. 

The six-song encore featured DBT standards, “Zip City” and “Let There Be Rock”. The Truckers are aptly named in that the two plus hour live show keeps coming at you like that eighteen-wheeler that rides your ass in the middle lane.  Next time the Truckers drive by do yourself a favor; stop and take a look. 

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