Drive-By Truckers with The Whigs
March 16, 2008
A breath of fresh air wafted in amidst the clogging cigarette smoke that saturated Newport, Kentucky’s Southgate House on March 16, provided by the one-two punch of southern rock bands, Drive-By Truckers and The Whigs.
The Whigs were up first, and they made Athens, Georgia proud. Lead Singer Parker Gispert bended and twisted, slamming down power chords in pure Neil Young and Crazy Horse type fashion. "Right Hand on My Heart" and ”Like a Vibration" from the band’s Mission Control disc were the beneficiaries, rocking out with complete abandon. The big surprises came from drummer Julian Dorio’s absolute progression on "Production City" and "Sleep Sunshine" as a master percussionist. The Whigs won a new following in one short set as they closed with "Half a World Away."
Touring behind Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, The Drive-By Truckers set a high standard with their pummeling triple guitar attack. The bulk of the set centered around Creation‘s compositions with songwriting bassist Shonna Tucker holding down the bottom end with equal parts bravado and laser beam precision. Pedal Steel player John Neff stood out, enhancing the Truckers’ sound one hundred percent, layering in brash undertones on "You and Your Crystal Meth."
Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood still remain the reason to check out any DBT show. Cooley stood off to the side, ripping one searing lead guitar solo after another, and serenading the compacted floor with the raw, greasy rock stories inherent in the appealing "Self Destructive Zones." Hood owned the stage, stalking back and forth like a madman, chugging whiskey with Neff, and translating to the sold out Southgate the seedy underbelly of American days and nights in "Checkout Time in Vegas."
Overall, this was one hell of a concert, and those that left the Southgate House to wrap up for the cold night hoped that The Whigs and Drive By Truckers get together to do it again next time around.