Over The Weekend: Drive-By Truckers and Centro-matic at the Granada Theater

Drive-By Truckers, Centro-matic
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Granada Theater
September 2

Better than:


In the Drive-By Truckers documentary The Secret to a Happy Ending, a young female fan jokes that she often wears diapers to DBT shows, just so she won't miss any of the show waiting in a bathroom line. 

That might sound crazy at most concerts, but a night spent with DBT is not just any show, as evidenced by the sold out, nut-to-butt crowd packed into the Granada Friday night. 

And, considering this wasn't just any DBT show, either, that diaper might have come in extra handy Friday night.

You see, frontman Patterson Hood hit the stage sporting a bandage on his left hand courtesy of a nasty cut that left him with 14 stitches and a temporary inability to play his Gibson SG. Luckily, local hero Will Johnson was more than up to the task, learning 40 or so songs in two days leading up to the tour and allowing the Truckers' Texas dates to go on as scheduled. 

As Hood himself put it: "Have no fear ... Centro-matic's here." 

In fact, the entire show was a celebration of the love between two of the greatest American bands going, with Hood joining Centro-matic during their opening set (for the "bah-bada-bah-bah" outro of "Flashes and Cables"), and Centro-matic's Scott Danbom sitting in for a full half of DBT's show, adding barroom piano to the band's sing-along cover of Eddie Hinton's "Everybody Needs Love" and playing searing fiddle on an epic "Tornadoes," a tune that's taken on an extra bit of gravitas since devastating twisters tore a path through DBT's home state of Alabama earlier this year. 

As fun as it was to watch Patterson Hood unencumbered by guitar cables, vamping like a soul singer and dropping to his knees to work the crowd during "Let There Be Rock," co-frontman Mike Cooley was every bit his equal on this night, keeping the epic 24-song set rolling with bumps of Keith Richards boogie ("3 Dimes Down") and Crazy Horse riffage ("Women Without Whiskey"). 

It was the razor sharp songwriting by both men that shone brightest, however -- from the rock 'n' roll mythos of "Carl Perkins' Cadillac" and "Ronnie and Neil" to character studies like "Used to be a Cop" and "Birthday Boy," the breadth of the band's catalog is simply astounding in a live setting. 

The Truckers might still idolize Lynyrd Skynyrd -- they did write an entire rock opera about them, after all -- but they surpassed them as the definitive Southern rock band two or three albums ago. No band has ever written so eloquently (and at such length) about the American South. And no band has ever rocked harder while doing it. 

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I've been a big Drive-By Truckers fan ever since 1999's Alabama Ass Whuppin', and caught the classic Hood-Cooley-Jason Isbell lineup of the band several times. I can honestly say that the last Truckers show I caught -- a 2004 show at Stubb's indoors in Austin right before the release of The Dirty South -- was one of the 10 best rock shows I've ever seen. I've told more than one person I imagine it was something like catching the Rolling Stones in their Mick Taylor-era prime, and I'd shied away from seeing them live ever since, scared the live show just wouldn't be the same after Isbell's 2007 departure. I'm glad I came to my senses, 'cause Friday's show was just about a hair short of being that good. (I blame the frat boys.) 

Random Note: Centro-matic's excellent opening set served as a fitting showcase for the band's gorgeous new guitars, custom made by Creston Electric of Burlington, Vermont. Check out crestonguitars.com and prepare to drool. 

By The Way: I know I'm about the fourth or fifth person to write this, but the Granada really needs to ditch the Twitter board. For instance, I'm not really sure what @comestein was trying to accomplish when he tweeted "@granadatheater most obscure human being here tonight: black people." He might have been aiming for sparkling social commentary, I suppose, but he just came across like a dick. Why give a bunch of dicks a forum to screw the rest of us out of good time? 


Fountains of Fire
Against the Line
Huge in Every City
All the Talkers
Proud Son of Gaffney
Mighty Midshipman
Covered Up in Mines
Calling Thermatico
Patience for the Ride
Flashes and Cables
Only in My Double Mind

Drive-By Truckers
I Do Believe
Carl Perkins' Cadillac
(Something's Got To) Give Pretty Soon
Women Without Whiskey
Feb 14
Birthday Boy
Go-Go Boots
Cartoon Gold
Dancin' Ricky
A Ghost To Most
Everybody Needs Love
Marry Me
Ronnie and Neil
3 Dimes Down
Used to be a Cop
Gravity's Gone
Hell No I Ain't Happy

Mercy Buckets
Zip City
Lookout Mountain
Get Downtown
Let There Be Rock
Shut Your Mouth and Get Your Ass On The Plane

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