Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Drive-By Truckers show is a big to-do

Toronto's Lee's Palace was the fourth stop on the Drive-By Truckers' tour in support of its new album, The Big To-Do, but the Athens, Georgia-based band seemed right at home.
"No wonder The Rolling Stones keep coming back here," singer/guitarist Patterson Hood told the packed house as the southern rock band returned for its encore on Tuesday night, saying the group had spent a couple of days in Canada's largest city leading up to the gig. 
The Truckers' stay will continue today with a free in-store performance at 5 p.m. at Sonic Boom (a non-perishable food item donation for the Daily Bread Food Bank is requested) and another show with opener Langhorne Slim at Lee's tonight.
The large crowd at Tuesday night's show made the Truckers feel at ease and gave warm receptions to the songs in the first part of the set that was packed with The Big To-Do material that patrons still might not be too familiar with.
Things got off to a solid start with "Drag The Lake Charlie," and five of the next seven songs were from the new album. It might actually have been six, as there was a cut sung by bassist Shonna Tucker that I couldn't make out because her voice was somewhat drowned out. 
The same thing happened later in the show during Tucker's second time in the spotlight. I don't mind her songs on the Truckers' recordings, and there was nothing wrong with them musically last night, but I'm not sure if her voice can carry them on a stage shared with her bass, three guitarists, a drummer and a keyboard player.
Hood and fellow singer/guitarist Mike Cooley essentially alternated and took turns on lead vocals for each song during the set, which early on was highlighted by "Gravity's Gone" and "Girls Who Smoke." 
Things slowed down a bit and John Neff moved from guitar to pedal steel for "72 (This Highway's Mean)," and stayed there for "My Sweet Annette," "Love Like This" and "Feb 14."
Hood's storytelling abilities were on full display during "18 Wheels Of Love," Jay Gonzalez was given a piano solo during "Self Destructive Zones" and "Steve McQueen" was given the extended treatment. "Hell No, I Ain't Happy" had the audience singing along to the chorus and ended the group's 100-minute set.
The encore began with another new song, "The Fourth Night Of My Drinking," as the band members continued to pass around the large bottle of Jack Daniels they'd been sharing all night. "Marry Me," "Dead, Drunk And Naked,"  "Guitar Man Upstairs" and "Lookout Mountain" closed things out.
The Truckers had ended their set in New York City last week with a cover of Jim Carroll's "People Who Died," and I was hoping to hear the group's version at Lee's. It wasn't to be, but by no means did I leave the show disappointed.
It was good to witness a full show after catching just three songs during a short set at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas last month.

Here's the set list for the April 6 Drive-By Truckers show at Lee's Palace:

"Drag The Lake Charlie" 
"Get Downtown" 
Shonna Tucker song
"This Fucking Job" 
"Gravity's Gone"
"Daddy Learned To Fly" 
"Birthday Boy" 
"Girls Who Smoke" 
"3 Dimes Down"
"Ronnie And Neil"
"72 (This Highway's Mean)"
"My Sweet Annette"
"Love Like This"
"Feb 14"
"18 Wheels Of Love"
"Self Destructive Zones"
"Steve McQueen"
Shonna Tucker song
"Hell No, I Ain't Happy"
"The Fourth Night Of My Drinking" 
"Marry Me"
"Dead, Drunk And Naked"
"Guitar Man Upstairs"
"Lookout Mountain" 

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