Bobby Bare Jr/ The Hold Steady/ Drive-By Truckers, 10/31/08

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Bobby Bare Jr/ The Hold Steady/ Drive-By Truckers
Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee
October 31, 2008

There was no shortage of loud at the Ryman’s Halloween celebration.  Two nights in to the pairing of The Hold Steady and Drive-By Truckers “Rock ‘n Roll Means Well Tour” a costume clad crowd, the two main event artists and good friends Bobby Bare Jr. and the Young Criminal Starvation League culminated for a night of monstrous rock and roll at the mother church of county music.

Bobby Bare Jr. opened the night with a superb set of music.  The young Nashville legend had not played the Ryman since his Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of five with father and country legend, Bobby Bare.  Make no mistake – Jr. is no longer a young innocent, nor is his show Grand Ole Opry country.  The band was firing on all cylinders with My Morning Jacket’s Patrick Hallahan joining on drums.

The Hold Steady took the stage next, clothed in Colonial garb.  The fun-loving, costume-clad artists seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the rowdy crowd.   This was the band’s first time to play in Nashville, and they were doing so in the most esteemed of venues. Their set stole the show with hits like “Massive Nights”, “Hot Soft Lights” and “Stay Positive.”

Though the night was billed as a double header, the Drive-By Truckers were clearly the main attraction and seemed elated to be playing the Ryman Auditorium for the first time.  They have always had great turnouts in Nashville, and always seem to playing amongst friends in the Music City.  However, it is certainly a milestone to come town to play at the mother church, one that Patterson Hood and gang saw fit to celebrate with new Manuel suits (the official formal wear of the Opry).  Spooner Oldham is still along for the ride, and adding a great sound to the Southern rockers’ arsenal.  And pedal steel guru/guitar slinger John Neff continues to define a new era of Truckers with his superb play.

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