Drive-By Truckers, joined by Spooner Oldham on Wurlitzer, took the stage at the House of Blues to some pretty healthy applause. They passed around a bottle of Jack Daniel's and then got down to business, launching the three-axe attack with "Lookout Mountain."
This is not a band that has a lot of wild antics onstage. They merely "get to gettin'" to quote the great Albert Collins. Patterson Hood (showing no ill effects of the laryngitis he said he woke up with) and Mike Cooley shared the vocals throughout the set. Shonna Tucker sang two of her songs: "I'm Sorry Huston" and "Home Field Advantage." For most of the set the band alternated between their rocking tunes and their more mellow songs. Then came the last five or so songs (including "Let There Be Rock"), which seemed like an extended crescendo to close the show. After 90 minutes of rock, the band finished the set with a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Adam Raised a Cain."
While the majority of the songs in the set were from Brighter than Creation's Dark, the Truckers also tapped into songs from The Dirty South ("Carl Perkins' Cadillac") and Southern Rock Opera ("Ronnie and Neil"). Drive-By Truckers delivered in spades exactly what the crowd wanted. The band took hardly any time between songs and I doubt anyone walked out feeling cheated.
Drive-By Truckers was preceded by North Mississippi All-Stars. Although I had seen this band before, I feel like I didn't really get the full experience until this evening at the House of Blues.
North Mississippi All-Stars largely played its set like the members had a cab waiting outside. The band blew through about four songs before the guys even so much as paused. And that was just so Luther Dickinson could switch axes. The highlight of the set was when Luther played a real down-home guitar. It looked like a cigar box and a sawed-off mop handle. The guitar had two strings and Dickinson played it with a slide. I've never seen or heard anything like it. It was awesome.
Overall, North Mississippi All-Stars played some gritty blues-rock songs about the devil, moonshine, and shaking what your mama gave you. In some songs, they reminded me of Mojo Nixon's "Tie My Pecker to My Leg" when Mojo says, "Everybody solo!" Cody Dickinson looked like he was trying to beat his drum kit into submission and Chris Chew provided some gut-rumbling bass lines on his five-string. If you like blues-rock and you haven't seen North Mississippi All-Stars, all I can say is you are missing out.
The opening band was The Felice Brothers, a five-piece band I can only classify as Americana. Sure, the band has the standard guitar, bass, and drums, but they round out the lineup with accordion and washboard. I am sorry to say that I was only able to catch the last to songs in the set. That being said, those two songs were enough to get me to buy a CD.
In the first song I caught, the guitarist was on his knees playing his guitar while the drummer stepped out from behind his kit to sing. I'm afraid I didn't catch the name of the tune, but it had a real gospel feel. The second song I caught featured the whole band, and it was just a fun tune to hear. It ended with the washboard player hitting one of the drummer's cymbals and warping it. I wish I had caught more of The Felice Brothers, but I know I will check them out more extensively. All in all, it was a great show and I'm glad I was there to witness it.
For more about Drive-By Truckers, visit http://drivebytruckers.com/.