PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The Drive-By Truckers tried something bold with their 10th studio album last fall, American Band. Though the title makes it sound like a reprise of the Grand Funk hit, it was actually a collection of its most pointed political commentaries to date, challenging its Southern rock fans with issues of prevalent gun violence, racial injustice, and government censorship.
It raged against Trump’s America even before he got elected from the very state that helped elect him. And while the ratcheted-up tracks from American Band were prominent in the first of two packed nights at the 9:30 Club in D.C., they hardly challenged district politics (any more than, say, “Ronnie and Neil” did), let alone rattle the current resident on Pennsylvania Avenue less than a couple of miles away.
On Friday, Cooley played “the most science based song we’ve ever written,” in honor of Saturday’s big Science March in his “Gravity’s Gone.” In Saturday’s show, they backloaded his “Once They Banned Imagine,” about the time when Clear Channel put John Lennon’s “Imagine” on a list of don’t-play songs after 9/11, with their own cover of Lennon’s “Just Gimme Some Truth” and the Ramones’ “The KKK Took My Baby Away,” a couple of covers they’ve been doing on the current tour.