Drive-By Truckers Prove The Righteous Path at Brooklyn Bowl Night Two (SHOW REVIEW)

For the second show of their three nights run at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl on November 5th the Drive-By Truckers delivered their workman-like rock and roll with the power and grace that makes them one of the most consistently great live bands in the land. 

First Buffalo Nichols opened the night as the Austin, TX based artist (by way of Milwaukee, WI) took to the stage solo. Nichols reinterpreted the songs from his debut self-titled album for the live setting. On record they are straight ahead, predominantly clean sounding blues workouts but on this night, loops, beats and swirling noise were employed with varying success.  Tunes like “Living Hell” and “Lost & Lonesome” were a bit overwhelmed by the added sounds, drowning out Nichols strong vocals at times, but filling up the Bowl with sound as the crowd arrived. 

Drive-By Truckers pulled onto the stage dropped directly into the Mike Cooley led “Birthday Boy”. Perhaps an odd choice for an opener as the tale of prostitution began the night, but the electric slide playing of Jay Gonzalez dripped with soul during the opener and banging follow up “Righteous Path”. 

The band drove circles around the racing “Where The Devil Don’t Stay” while the screeching six strings rang out with all the sing-along power for “Ronnie and Neil” as Patterson Hood led the charge. The crowd was in great voice to help out on “Women Without Whiskey” while the band locked in and added an extended jam to the end of “The Boys From Alabama” which was engaging as Matt Patton and Brad Morgan held the low end allowing Gonzalez, Hood and Cooley to dance around the fret boards. 

The set had an exhale with the slower “Mercy Buckets” and the easy country sway of “Uncle Frank” while “Marry Me” and “Surrender Under Protest” didn’t hit the heights they were shooting for, yet the dramatic combination of “Buttholeville” and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper” proved to be a powerful pairing.   

Perhaps the song of the night on this go around was a sublime rendition of “Sinkhole” which checked all of the Truckers boxes. The song delivered a meaty groove, excellent three guitar interplay, and southern gothic horror lyrics. The incisive riffs from Gonzalez in particular rang brightly as the band relayed the murderous tale. 

A few covers showed up late with the slow crawling “I’m Eighteen” by Alice Cooper and more impressively, during a fiery extended take on closer “Hell No, I’m Not Happy” the band seamlessly dropped “Sign O’ the Times” from Prince into their own tale of angst, ending the night of dynamite tunes on a raging high note.  

Drive‐By Truckers Setlist Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY, USA 2021


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