THE ROCK REPORT: THE DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS @ THE HOUSE OF BLUES; ORLANDO, FL


I’ve been hard on the Drive-By Truckers the past few years here on ninebullets, I know. Truth is, I’ve been even harder on them in my own mind, so when they posted Florida tour dates that made it to Tampa for only the second time since Isbell left the band, my excitement was about that of an eight year old with Brussels sprouts on his dinner plate. Ultimately, I decided I was gonna miss the show here in Tampa in favor of attending a local band’s show and figured that would be that. But, as fate would have it, the band’s publicist reached out to me the day of the Tampa show and next thing I knew the wife and I were gonna be driving to Orlando the next night for the DBT show at the House of Blues.

Now, it bears mentioning that I still wasn’t bouncing-off-the-walls excited to go to the show, I had just agreed to go see it. The wife and I had also agreed that if it sucked we were leaving immediately. The last two times I’d seen the Truckers (once with Isbell and once without), the band seemed less than interested in the show, bordering on distracted. I wasn’t the only one who noticed, either. I chalked it up to fatigue, band tensions or a product of getting bigger and playing bigger venues, but ultimately it didn’t matter. The only thing that did matter was that they disappointed me, so a few years and a couple of albums that fell below the band’s high water mark pass later, and I find myself walking into the House of Blues to see what the band is like these days. To put it bluntly, I was not expecting to be blown away, amazed or rocked. I only hoped to be entertained.

I was entertained. I was rocked. And, hell, I was blown away.

The band was as good as I’ve seen them in years. Patterson’s smile was back. Cooley looked like he wanted to be there. As a whole, it was like the band had their moxie back and the setlist seemed to suggest the same thing. The first ½ of the show was dominated by tracks from Southern Rock Opera and spiced with choice selections from Patterson & Cooley’s contributions from Decoration Day and The Dirty South. The latter ½ of the show saw the pace mellow a little, as the band began introducing songs from the upcoming Go-Go Boots to the crowd, but it never let up enough to bore you as Cooley managed to squeeze “Birthday Boy” and “Ghost To Most” in there, with Patterson dropping “Tornadoes” into the last portion of the show. In the end, my only complaint about the show would have to have been the crowd. Orlando shows usually make me jealous of the Orlando scene, but the House of Blues crowd was lethargic to the point of being a deterrent to a good time (luckily Mr. Jimmy Beam kept the good times on tap).

So if the band is hitting your neck of the woods in the coming months, go check them out. They seem to be enjoying the road again and are putting on a great rock show right now.

Drive-By Truckers – Zip City (live)
Drive-By Truckers – Marry Me (live)
Drive-By Truckers – A Ghost To Most (live)

Songs taken from Live From Austin, Texas

SOANGELICATE’S ROCK REPORT: JAMES AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES, ORLANDO


When I was 15, my family moved from Grand Rapids, MI to a town called Plant City, FL. I was already a moody little fuck, so when you add in moving me to a tiny town in a miserably hot state, well, I was feeling emo long before the word became what it is today. Then one night while watching 120 Minutes on MTV (for the younger readers, the “M” used to stand for Music before it stood for Mediocre), “Sit Down” by James came on. At that age and that point in my life, the lyrics, though they may sound cheesy as hell on the page, meant the world to me and it was one of the first songs that brought the Madchester sound into my life. So when James came to town as openers for The Soup Dragons, I begged my parents to buy me a ticket and stood up at the very front, yelling every lyric to every song.

Fast(slow?)-forward almost two decades later to 2010. James has long since split and gotten back together after lead singer Tim Booth’s solo career didn’t do so hot, they have a new double EP out, and they’re actually touring the US once again, though this time as the headliners. As wary as I am about seeing bands I loved as a teen (the Sisters of Mercy abortion of a concert from a couple years ago is still fresh in my mind), there was no way I was going to miss the chance to hear “Sit Down” sung live just one more time.

We had to cross the state during the end of rush hour on a Tuesday to get to the show, which was at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, and even though we made pretty good time (it was only 8p when we got there), we still missed the opener, Ed Harcourt. I was really hoping to catch him, though nobody I spoke with at the show was very impressed with his set. Someone mentioned lounge music. Oh well.

The place was full, but nobody was pushing, and there was no real crush at the front when the headliners took to the stage.  The band started things off somewhat slow with “Dust Motes”, a song from their recent EP, The Morning After, released just days before the show. Frontman Tim Booth was wearing a fringed stocking cap, blue and white polo, baggy grey pants, and a blazer, looking kind of like a French sailor who just woke up late for a dinner party. Tim no longer has the fluffy blonde locks he used to shake about as he danced, but the tassels on his cap seemed to serve as proxy, wagging and shaking around as he bounced. And while time may have taken his hair, he still dances like a snake that’s angry that someone gave it arms and is trying vehemently to shake them off of his body.

While the whole show was nothing short of fantastic, there were definitely some highlights. The new stuff that they played, like “It’s Hot” and “Crazy” sounded great live. On one of their older tunes, “Out to Get You”, Saul Davies’ violin was highlighted, which lent a really cool Irish/bluegrass edge to it, working up to a fever pitch over a deep, pounding bass drum. During another favorite of mine, “Say Something”, Tim actually came down into the crowd and serenaded a random audience member. The band was clearly taken with the crowd’s hanging on their every note and worked as hard as they could to give back what they were getting off of us.

Approaching venue curfew after 15 songs, they played just a two song encore. First was the ridiculously romantic “Sometimes”, and then they announced they could do just one more song and that they were going to do something different, something that they wouldn’t be doing much more. And then they did it, they played “Sit Down”. A song I can’t even begin to imagine how tired they must be of playing, but they played it anyway and I about lost my fucking mind. The whole band even stepped to the front of the stage and sat along its edge, and at one point it was just percussion while the audience sang every word with all we could muster. Concert perfection, that moment of true shared musical experience that is the reason we drive across a state on a Tuesday night. Even more amazing, when I got a hold of a setlist I noticed that “Sit Down” wasn’t even one of the three songs listed as possible encores. I couldn’t have asked for more.

James – Sit Down (studio)
James – Sit Down (live)

Check out more pictures from the show at www.drunkcameraguy.com

SOANGELICATE'S ROCK REPORT: MUSE AND U2 @ RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM

I’ve hemmed and hawed about whether to write this up for 9b.  I know this isn’t your usual fare here, but you all surprised me on the Matt and Kim and Ben Folds fronts, so here goes nothing.  I figure what can it hurt, at the worst you just won’t read it, but for those of you who do check out the stuff I post here (thanks, Mom!), I had to take the chance that someone else may love this band like I do.

I’ve seen Muse twice before, both times at smaller venues (House of Blues Orlando and Tabernacle Atlanta), so when I found out that on this tour they were playing stadiums I was kinda bummed.  There’s always that paradox, on the one hand I want to see my favorite bands in tiny little clubs with 100 people that are totally into the show. But on the other hand I want the bands I like to succeed.  So it was with Muse this time around, and I actually didn’t even get tickets until a month or so before the show when I decided to suck it up and go ahead and see them. Shit, it’s not like the Bucs are doing anything in Raymond James Stadium this season.

Finally the day of the concert arrived and after fighting rush hour traffic to wait in line in the midday sun, the general admission herd was released onto the field.  People abandoned the tents they’d been camped out in (some since midnight the night before) and the coolers (long since emptied while languishing in the 90 degree heat) and hauled ass towards “The Claw“, U2’s stage contraption.  Finally it was show time.  The sun had set, the breezes started to blow, and Muse took to the stage.  I’m a chick, so you know I’m no good at math, but the fraction of people there for Muse vs U2 had to have been relatively small.  There were definitely some other Muse die-hards like myself, and a handful of others who at least knew their current single, “Uprising”, but most were there for U2 which made it somewhat easy to get up to the stage.  Muse made the call to start the set with their current single, “Uprising”, which kind of seemed like blowing their wad at first, but it made people around me perk up and realize they actually did know this band, so I guess it was a good idea after all. Going back to the whole being torn thing, while I was sad not to be seeing Muse in a little club, I knew that their brand of live show was going to do better than most other opening bands’ would in a gifuckinmongous stadium.  They were big and loud and brilliant and I couldn’t believe I almost didn’t go.  From the throbbing beat of “Hysteria” to the subtly R&B-tinged sexiness of “Undisclosed Desires”, they had my attention the whole time and I totally forgot how many other people were behind me watching.  When they ended the mere 9 song set with one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Time is Running Out”, I couldn’t have been happier.  Sure, I would have loved to hear “Knights of Cydonia” and “United States of Eurasia”, but maybe next time.  They’re supposed to come back and do a headlining tour of the US next Spring and I’ve already warned the boyfriend that I’m dragging him to 2 or 3 of the closest shows, whatever funds and work schedules will allow.

Now I don’t know how long it was until U2 took the stage, as I was still in afterglow, but when they did it was to a gigantic roar from the crowd as Bono popped out of his hyperbaric carbon neutral windmill powered pod and went right into “Breathe”.  Then he sang another song from an album I didn’t really care for.  Then The Edge walked around the outer circle thingy.  Then they played one from an album that was ok.  Then Bono walked across a moving bridge thingy.  Then they played “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and briefly went into a cover of “Stand By Me”.  Now you’re talking.  Then another song from the new album. Meh.  I’m pretty sure I lost my hard-on completely when Bono quipped something about how we should love the stage contraption since we paid for it.  In all fairness, though, the vast majority of people were really into the show, and I think that if I hadn’t just seen one of my favorite bands kill it I could have been more into it.  But I wasn’t, so we headed out for a location where we could get 3 vodka drinks for the price of one horrible stadium beer.

If you haven’t heard Muse, check them out in all their 70’s rock-influenced goodness.  You can also see some pictures from the show here but I didn’t have the good camera, so hopefully they’ll be better from the next show!

Muse- Time is Running Out
Muse- Uprising

[GUEST POST] ROCK REPORT: DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS @ THE HOUSE OF BLUES IN MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.

Autopsy IV: This post comes from a long time ninebullets.net reader, Adam Fenwick. It’s nice to see a review of the Truckers. It’s been so long since they’ve come to the Tampa Bay area I’ve almost forgotten what THE ROCK SHOW is like. Hope y’all enjoy.


It had been more than a year since I last saw the best damn band on the planet, the Drive-By Truckers, live in concert, which is far too long. So, when my brothers girlfriend emailed me asking if I knew anyone interested in attending a DBT show at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Aug. 21, I immediately thought of myself.

So, I took a day off of work and made the four hour drive to Wilmington, N.C., to meet up with my brother and his girlfriend before driving the additional hour and a half to Myrtle Beach. The trip itself was nothing compared to the party that would ensue in the House of Blues.

We arrived just as Tift Merritt was starting up her set before the ROCK SHOW. I’ve heard some of her music before, but I can honestly say I was never very impressed with her, but she was certainly a good opening act that warmed up the crowd before the main event.

When the Truckers finally hit the stage after the half-hour lull between sets, the crowd was more then ready. They opened with The Great Car Dealer War and the ROCK SHOW was on.

One Of These Days? Check. Love Like This? Check. Lookout Mountain? Check.

At one point, Patterson calmly stopped the show and began to talk about the recently past Jim Dickinson, the father of Cody & Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars. He thanked Mr. Dickinson for all of his efforts through the years and dedicated “Let There Be Rock” to the legendary pianist.

In addition to all the regular DBT staples, like Road Cases (with extended intro), Heathens and Women Without Whiskey, a few new ones were pulled out. Shonna sang what had to be a new song since I’ve never heard it before and there was at least one other song, sung by Patterson or Cooley, that I wasn’t familiar with either. New material they are testing out perhaps?

As the show moved forward the band pulled out all the stops, including a booming cover of Neil Young‘s “Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World” that had the crowd in an absolute craze. In fact, the crowd may have been a bit too crazy, because for the second-straight time at a DBT show, a fight broke out right in front of me. One guy, who had been asked to chill by security once already, was being escorted out by being pulled over the front guardrail when all hell broke loose.

Two guys got to shoving and throwing punches and my brothers girlfriend was nearly thrown to the ground in the confusion (which didn’t sit well with him at all). But, just as he always does, Patterson took the incident in stride by saying as the hooligans were escorted out by security: “That’s what you get for trying to fuck up our rock show!”

Oh, and least I forget, one guy got on stage but was promptly ripped in half by two security guards. Ahh…what a fun night at the ROCK SHOW.

Anyway, the band closed with an amazing version of “Angels and Fuselage” which I’ve never heard live before. As the song wound down each member of the band, starting with Patterson, simply put their instrument down, waved to the crowd and exited the stage. It was a classy ending to a great ROCK SHOW.

Drive-By Truckers – Let There Be Rock
Drive-By Truckers – The Living Bubba
Drive-By Truckers – Perfect Timing

The songs are off the Truckers latest album, Live From Austin, Texas (9b write up) which can be purchased here.