Mike Atkinson

Drive-By Truckers – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Thursday August 7

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Rescue Rooms by Mike A on August 8, 2008

If last night’s show was any fair measure, then the audience for Drive-By Truckers – a six-piece alternative country-rock band from Athens, Georgia – divides neatly into two.

For some, the quasi-literary narrative style of the lyrics was the main attraction. Most Truckers songs, whether composed by the shaggy, imposing Patterson Hood, his leaner co-vocalist Mike Cooley, smiling bassist Shonna Tucker or former member Jason Isbell, take the form of carefully crafted mini-dramas, which demand close attention.

Meanwhile, a smaller but more vocal faction was happy to respond on a gut level to the band’s sturdy Southern boogie, and to the exultant drive of their so-called “three axe attack”.

For the first half hour or so, neither tribe were best served by the slightly samey mid-paced chug on offer. Muffled by the mix, the vocals remained impenetrable to all but the most word perfect of diehards – and despite the brilliance of their execution, there was something interchangeable about all those guitar jams.

Just as apathy threatened to set in, the Truckers shifted gear. The harrowing You And Your Crystal Meth dipped the mood to powerful effect, while the suppressed fury of The Righteous Path evoked Neil Young at his most blistering.

The absolute highlight was saved for the encore. Taken from 2001’s much loved breakthrough album Southern Rock Opera (essentially an extended homage to Lynyrd Skynyrd), the compelling Let There Be Rock was played from the heart, both the band and the crowd finally shedding their last vestiges of studious detachment.

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  1. 2014: The Sleeve Notes « David Belbin said, on December 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

    […] DBTs hardly toured this album in the UK, which is a great shame. Their last Nottingham gig, six years ago was terrific, and I’ve since travelled to Birmingham to see them – one of the great live […]

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