Saturday, July 21, 2007
That's what's on the sleeve of the shirt I bought at the concert last night.
Yeah, I bought the t-shirt. At this point, after so many years of groups giving me t-shirts for working concerts, the times that I'm willing to shell out $25 for a concert t-shirt are few and fucking far between. So if I'm buying merch from a concert, it's gotta be a top 10 concert for me.
Last night made the top 5. The Reckless Kelly concert at the Neighborhood Theatre was as good as the show I saw Robert Earl Keen out on there when he blew the main breaker during "The Road Goes on Forever" and had to play the second half of the song in the dark.
These scruffy boys from Austin played a killer set, including pretty much every cut off their new double live album, Reckless Kelly was Here, which if you don't already own, you should buy right f'n now. I knew it was gonna be a good night when they started off the set with a cover of Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," which is one of my favorite cuts off the album. From there, until the 2-sing encore of "Revolution" (yes, the Beatles' Revolution) and "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah," me and 500+ of my closest friends were rocking like we were college kids again.
The crowd was an interesting mix of rednecks and the typical Charlotte hipsters. When did chinos, polos, flip-flops and ball caps become the 20-something guy uniform for going to a rock show? There were several full-on cowboy types, a little bit of biker trash, a lesbian in a trucker hat and camo t-shirt, and one cool older dude leaning on the speaker downstage left. The old dude was a little bit of an incongruous picture, until the band called him up onstage to sing "Kansas City" with them, so that he could play a little bit with his kid. Turns out Jay Nazz, the drummer, is actually Jay Nazziola, son of Charlotte musician Tom Nazziola, who joined the band for a tune. That was pretty cool.
Really, one of the Top 5 concerts I've ever seen. I'm not counting festival shows, because festivals are just a whole different ballgame. And in case you're wondering, here they are -
1. Sam Bush - Deerfield Campgrounds - August 2003 - Sammy tore the roof off that joint, bringing out Mark Bryan from Hootie & the Blowfish and Jack Lawrence to close out the night.
2. John Hiatt - Neighborhood Theatre - 2001 - Hiatt performed a killer solo set with just himself, a guitar and a piano. One of my favorite singer-songwriters, getting to see him from the 10th row of a 600-seat theatre was absolutely amazing.
3. Robert Earl Keen - Damned if I can remember - Neighborhood Theatre - This is where he blew out the power to the building. When you're jamming so hard the building can't keep up with you, it's a good night.
4. Reckless Kelly - last night. I'm almost totally deaf in my left ear today.
5. Duckbutter - Green Acres music farm - around 2002. Sam Bush, Byron Howse, Kenny Lee and John Cowan doing old rock, blues and soul cover tunes. Fucking amazing, and the site of the best concert picture I've ever taken, of Sammy playing a Fender strat like his life depended on it. I blew it up to 8 x 10, framed it and gave it to Bonnie for Christmas that year. A month later we got Sam to autograph it. It's still on her mantle.
Honorable mentions - Sam Bush at Spirit Square earlier this year, David Childers at the Comet Grill for his daughter's college graduation party, Arrested Development at the Neighborhood Theatre and the Sea of No Cares Tour by Great Big Sea when they played the Neighborhood Theatre. 3rd-row seats for Doc Watson last year for my birthday was also a monster show.
You might have guessed that I like the smaller venues. After working the big rock shows for a couple years, they lost all appeal to me. There are still acts I'm interested in seeing in that format, like Allison Kraus & Union Station next month, but I'm not sure I'm willing to deal with all the surcharges, nosebleed seats and assorted bullshit.
So here's a picture dump from the last two weekends worth of concert-going.
Sammy was pretty good, not on of his best shows, and the acoustics in Amos' Southend are for shit. It'll have to be a killer band for me to go back to that joint.
I found new respect for Willy Braun when he came out in the Ramones shirt. Boy can rock.
Brother Cody Braun on the mandolin, fiddle and harmonica. He's got mad skillz.
This cutie was at the Sammy show and the RK show, dancing barefoot the whole show both times. Wonder if she's read Wil's book? She's definitely got the good taste in boogie.
Now really, don't fuck around. If you're in Winston-Salem tonight, or Raleigh tomorrow night, or anywhere else the boys are gonna be, go see Reckless Kelly. You might get drunk, and you might have to say 'SFP' to somebody the next day, but you're guaran-damn-teed to see a monster show by some boys who write killer songs and have a damn good time playing music. And isn't that better than whatever passes for a hit song anyway?
Posted by John G. Hartness at 11:52 AM