Drive-By Truckers jam out in Boston

A review of Drive-By Truckers at the House of Blues on November 17, 2011

, Managing Editor

The Drive-By Truckers have had their foot on the pedal these past few years, releasing new albums in both 2010 and 2011. The Georgia-based group also released a greatest hits album this year titled Ugly Buidings, Whores, and Politicians. Luckily these hits, from which much of their set derived, sounded a lot better than the album’s title would lead one to believe. The band delivered new tunes and plenty of the old favorites at the House of Blues on Thursday.

Although the Truckers may not have the biggest following up north, playing before a modest-sized crowd on Lansdowne Street, they surely aim to grow their fanbase with each performance. Their quirky lyrics and tendency for jamming may be what keeps them from earning substantial radio play, but it’s also what makes their live shows so entertaining.

The band has seen their share of players come in go over the years since they started in the late 90’s, but they have a strong core in their trio of guitarists- Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, and John Neff. Hood and Cooley alternated on lead vocals all evening, except for the two songs where bassist Shonna Tucker emerged from the shadows to share her voice (“Dancin’ Ricky” and “Where’s Eddie?”). Neff provided beautiful work on the pedal steel guitar for about half the show, with some of his best work on display for “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac”, and offered slide guitar and several outstanding solos on the rest. The Truckers were at their best with all three guitarists riffing away on tunes like the bluesy shuffle “3 Dimes Down” and the amusing “Buttholeville”, which closed out the main set.

The Truckers definitely know how to have their fun, as evidenced by numbers like “The Fourth Night of My Drinking” and “Women Without Whiskey” but they certainly have a tender side as well. They brought the disco ball out for emphasis on the catchy ballad “Everybody Needs Love” and later ended the night on a soft note with “Angels in Fuselage”, where one could really hear the sincerity in Hood’s voice.

With pure country voices and themes and a southern rock sound, The Drive-By Truckers are often labeled as an “Alternative Country” group. The Truckers may never make the mainstream (which is something they’re probably perfectly fine with), but this band is definitely an alternative more listeners would benefit in taking.

Setlist
1. Used To Be A Cop
2. Gravity’s Gone
3. Puttin’ People On The Moon
4. 3 Dimes Down
5. Your Daddy Hates Me
6. Dancing Ricky
7. Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
8. Heathens
9. Women Without Whiskey
10. Everybody Needs Love
11. A Ghost To Most
12. Where’s Eddie?
13. Goode’s Field Road
14. Where The Devil Don’t Stay
15. The Fourth Night Of My Drinking
16. When The Pin Hits The Shell
17. Buttholeville
Encore
18. Zip City
19. The Thanksgiving Filter
20. Marry Me
21. Let There Be Rock
22. Shut Up and Get On The Plane
23. Angels and Fuselage

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