October 9, 2010
The Drive-By Truckers drove their country rock sextet into Atlanta on Saturday night just in time to warm up the newly renovated Buckhead Theatre, more commonly known as The Roxy.Â Although a complete facelift has visibly improved the venue, the overall experience still leaves something to be desired.
The night kicked off with North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson and the boys of Hill Country Revue, who dished out their brand of Southern rock and blues. Touring behind their newly released album Zebra Ranch, HCR delivered their gritty, straight, and deeply Mississippian variety to an eager but accepting near capacity crowd.
Drive-By Truckers came on stage following a short set swap. Throughout the night, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley would split time on the microphone, providing a nice showcase of their back and forth vocal and musical abilities. The audience seemed more drawn to Hood, who took a more dramatic stage presence with his seemingly heartfelt mannerisms as the Truckers played to the audience.Â Cooley, on the other hand, took more of a guitar god approach, deliberately posing with his guitar for his somewhat adoring fans. Having played together for over 20 years, their back and forth dynamic is truly demonstrative of how time serves as a fine instructor in regards to chemistry.
It has now been over three years since former guitarist Jason Isbell departed the “truck” to pursue his solo career and Jay Gonzalez and John Neff have now managed to aptly manage his share of the load. On this night, the sextet put together a hard hitting show that was heavy on crowd favorites that depicted life in the country, whiskey drinking, cigarette smoking, and a dark themed cast of characters.
The opener, “The Fourth Night of My Drinking,” provided perhaps the most telling example of this with Hood explaining to the crowd that was in fact a tune about “fucking your sister.” Continuing in the opener’s seedy tradition, “The Deeper In” would follow and the newer songs of the evening, “This Fucking Job” and “Birthday Boy” followed suit both lyrically and rhythmically as well.
The band continued to deliver their gripping tales of life and death for nearly two hours. In the process, they paid reverence to a few heroes by covering Eddie Hinton’s “Everybody Needs Love” and performing two of the tunes from 2001’s tribute to all things Skynyrd, Southern Rock Opera. The first of said tributes would be to Mr. Van Zant and Mr. Young in “Ronnie and Neil;” the second would come later as a monster set closing shout out, “Shut Up and Get on the Plane.”
The band made their way off stage for a few minutes which caused a mild stir and restlessness in the crowd. The raucous pack of concert goers loudly made their desire for the show to not be over known as they anxiously awaited the return of the Truckers for their encore.Â In the midst of being in the land of the Braves during the playoff rush, the crowd waivered back and forth between chants of “DBT” and the Tomahawk Chop.
The band returned to the stage during the midst of the mantra, which was met by a dismayed Cooley who asked the crowd “what the fuck are you talking about?” Bassist Shonna Tucker answered “I know what you’re saying, I just don’t know why.” This exchange was just one of many, but also the perfect, of the gritty alternative country platform from which DBT operates.
The six song encore included what seemed to be the highlight of the night, the crowd favorite “Zip City,” and “Let There Be Rock” which featured Truckers’ producer and owner of the legendary Chase Park Transduction studios in Athens, David Barbe. Cody Dickinson would retake the stage to close out the night alongside his Southern friends in “Buttholeville/State Trooper.”
As the crowd poured out onto Peachtree Street, sweat and smiles were plentiful.Â Although the themes of the Trucker’s song tend to be a bit redundant and leave some people wanting more, the general consensus is that The Drive-By Truckers continue to exemplify country rock to its fullest.