TVD Live: Drive-By Truckers with Lucero
at 9:30 Club, 12/29

To cap off  2011, the Alabama country band Drive-By Truckers had the pleasure of performing three headlining nights at the 9:30 Club on December 29th, 30th, and 31st.

Properly kicking off night #1 as their first headlining act was Lucero, the Memphis country/rock band with a weakness for Jameson, motorcycles and the high-heeled women who love the same.

Sold out far before the 29th, many pairs of cowboy boots had already filled the festively lit and decorated club when Lucero took the stage. On their 2009 album 1372 Overton Park, Lucero began to incorporate horns, keys, and pedal steel to their previously traditional rock sound, and as they approach the release of their yet-to-be-titled new album this year, they have continued to amp up the honky tonk on new songs like “Women and Work” and to punch up old stand-bys when playing live like “All Sewn Up.”

The band’s lead singer Ben Nichols embodies many elements of the classic touring warrior: hands and arms covered in tattoos that he got who knows where, a permanently raspy voice from years of smoking and drinking, and worn-in clothes that probably haven’t been washed in weeks. All of these traits suit him comfortably and contribute to the bottom shelf, paper bag scenarios he describes in his songs. When performing “Women and Work,” all he has to say is “Honky tonk and a jack knife, tomahawk and an ex-wife” in his warm southern drawl, and you can’t help but raise up your glass and sing along.

But when it comes down to the overall metaphor, if Lucero is the rebellious young man with tattoos, a Harley, and a slight drinking problem, Drive-By Truckers is his dad that prefers Jeff Foxworthy and Hank the First.

“I got friends in Nashville, or at least they’re folks I know / Nashville is where you go to see if what they said is so” croon the Drive-By Truckers in the song “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac.” The band’s more traditional Nashville country sound is evident but still catchy and tight as ever, as lead singers / guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood have been playing together for over twenty-six years.

The band knows how to handle themselves on a stage as they swiftly transition between bop-a-long tracks with twang and the slower, contemplative ballads that fill up much of their 2011 release, Go-Go Boots. They also incorporated elements of headlining act showmanship like dropping banners behind them for changes in scenery and a large drum head decorated with the band’s name and logo that drummer Brad Morgan heartily hit when the beat needed extra oomph.

With the faint smells of lite draft beer and Mary Jane in the air, fans danced and sang in front of the stage and hooted and hollered from the balconies for both of these great country acts. If there was an audience member not having a good time at this show, I certainly didn’t see him.

Photos by Ryan Ford

This entry was posted in TVD Washington, DC. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Abe Froman

    “Country band”? You’ve got to be kidding me. Did you even listen to DBT?

    • WaterfallsJ

      @Abe Froman Well they do use a pedal steel. And country music uses pedal steel. And since pedal steel guitars are used in country music, and the Drive-By Truckers use a pedal steel in their music, then the Drive-By Truckers are a country band. Abe Froman you sound like a 1st year law student with your grasp on logic

      • Abe Froman

        @WaterfallsJ Okay, I concede. I just listened to a few DBT selections to refresh my memory – “People Who Died”, “Lookout Mountain”, “Where the Devil Don’t Stay”, “Ronnie and Neil” – that’s some down-home country-fied twang right there. I’d describe their sound as sort of a Kenny Chesney-meets-Toby Keith hybrid with doses of Jason Aldean and Leeann Rimes added for good measure. I’m seriously considering getting in my pickup and driving across the holler to pick up some moonshine or Natty Light and listen to some DBT with my old bluetick hound…just as soon as my overalls finish drying on the clothesline out behind my mobile home.

  • WaterfallsJ

    I guess country = from the South. Wonder what the songwriters in DBT would think about your speculating on their affinity for Jeff Foxworthy? They would probably laugh as much as the next reader when they came across the snippet ” incorporated elements of headlining act showmanship”–I’m pretty sure they were the headlining act. All three nights.

    • Abe Froman

      @WaterfallsJ How about the author’s reference to “the band’s more traditional Nashville country sound”? There is absolutely nothing about DBT that one could characterize as “traditional Nashville country”. This review couldn’t possibly be more misleading.

      • WaterfallsJ

        @Abe Froman

        It appears that you know very little about the current Nashville scene, Abe Froman. You’re obviously hung up on old things, per your login. The reviewer really hit the nail on the head with that comparison.

        Take this quote, for example: “you can’t help but raise up your glass and sing along.” I bet that line has NEVER been used in a show review for either of these bands.

        • Abe Froman

          @WaterfallsJ Oh yeah? Well I bet you didn’t know that all of Ben Nichols’ tattoos are temporary AND he’s a teetotaler.

        • WaterfallsJ

          @Abe Froman Hey Abe, have you ever even SEEN Lucero? No way those tattoos are temporary. The Arkansas state flag one? I bought a flag like that for the wall behind my couch after seeing that

    • Abe Froman

      @WaterfallsJ Yep, to the author country=from the South. Love the condescension throughout the review. The asinine Foxworthy comment, everyone in attendance wearing their cowboy boots while “hooting and hollering”…just awful.

      • WaterfallsJ

        @Abe Froman Look at the rednecks with their cute little guitars! I was unaware of these bands that have a combined 16 album releases spanning 2 decades so I’ll make them sound like half-wits

        • Abe Froman

          @WaterfallsJ They’re probably racists, too. And illiterate. And Republicans.


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text