Concert Reviews

Over The Weekend: Eleven Hundred Springs, Roger Alan Wade, Lucero & Shooter Jennings at MusInk 2010's Second night

1100 Springs, Roger Alan Wade, Lucero & Shooter Jennings at MusInk's Second night
Fair Park Centennial Building
April 10, 2010

Better than:
Watching the Rangers continue to fail to come anywhere near our already low expectations.

Seeing a lively crowd enjoying the beautiful weather at the outdoor music stage for MusInk festival, it was clear that the good musical vibes the Old 97's had helped usher in the night prior were already being spread throughout the festival on its second day.

After sets from North Texas area country stalwarts, The King Bucks and 100 Damned Guns, among others, it was time for Eleven Hundred Springs, the reigning champs of the Dallas-Fort Worth honky-tonk scene, to take the stage at 6 p.m. And Matt Hillyer and his crack band simply did what it does best--belt out some heart-ripping stone cold country tunes. At 30 minutes, its set was sadly too short.

Really: The crowd thinned a bit after Eleven Hundred Springs finished. Many music listeners retreated back inside for various tattoo-related festivities, such as the Miss Musink pageant (both the evening gown and bathing suit competitions were being held inside the Centennial building), and the few dozen that remained outside were treated to the naughty delight that was Roger Alan Wade's one man show.

Armed with only his aviators and an electric Gibson Custom, Wade, who is closely related to another wild man, Johnny Knoxville, brandished the wit of a drunk, demented, dirty uncle. His humorous, stripped-down rockabilly ditties, like "All Likkered Up" and "Fryin' Bacon Nekkid", were funnier than any of the alleged jokes that Jim Rose offered in between sets, which were the exact same ones as the ones he lamely offered Friday night, verbatim.  

Not every song from Wade's hour-long set was filled with shocking story-telling, however.

"Wreckless Kind" and another song that he dedicated to his daughters and grandchildren were touching and visibly heartfelt. Given that the only instrumentation he employed was the aforementioned electric guitar, the set grew to be a tad monotonous, but Wade's jovial manner, not-to-be-believed lyrics and to-be-believed earnestness engaged the small-yet-enraptured crowd effectively.

By the time Memphis's Lucero took the stage after the skies darkened, the folks who had taken a musical break had returned in slightly larger numbers. The crowd of approximately 300 witnessed an eight-piece Lucero that is still really excited about showing off the songs from its recent, major label debut, 1372 Overton Park.

Songs from the new disc such as "Sound of the City" and "Sixes and Sevens" exploded with an added verve, thanks to the saxophone and trumpet components which were added to Lucero's touring line-up last fall.

Even a few of the older songs from Lucero's catalog have benefitted from the horn infusion: "That Much Further West" and "What Else Would You Have Me Be?" had a jubilant aura that hasn't been there typically in past performances.

While the fans near the stage roared approval with each song, it was when "Kiss the Bottle" and "Nights Like These" were dusted off that the crowd received its highly anticipated group sing-along. The soulful moments throughout Lucero's set when the keys, pedal steel, trumpet and sax would take center stage undermines the attempts of many to lazily slap them with the simplistic and all encompassing "southern rock" label.

In closing its set, Lucero brought Musink brainchild Oliver Peck on stage to help sing a verse of the fitting "All Sewn Up (With Bad Tattoos)".

Once the shirtless, yet colorfully adorned Peck was done with his duet, he triumphantly carried out a rambunctious stage dive into the astute crowd, which successfully carried him to safety.

The closing duties for night two of the Musink festival were the responsibility of Shooter Jennings. Entering the stage to an audio presentation featuring the ominous track, "Last Light Radio 11:01 p.m.," Jennings and his group of four players, who he introduced as Hierophant, took the stage and proceeded to immediately light up virtual question marks above many attendees heads.

The sight of Jennings manning the keys is one thing, but the unexpected sight of Jennings twisting a few synth knobs is another, unanticipated thing, entirely.

As Cory Miller, from the television show L.A. Ink, and Mike Hererra from MxPX looked on, Hierophant tore through a serious amount of tunes from its new album, Black Ribbon.

With an emphasis on theatrical guitars and dramatic lyrical imagery, this is a product that many long time, southern rockin' Jennings fans aren't terribly familiar with. As with Lucero before it, it was apparent that the band relished the opportunity to perform newer material, as the group now known as Hierophant was immensely tight and produced some excellent results. The new songs that were performed, such as "Don't Feed the Animals", have more in common with 1970s arena-rockers like Rush or even Styx, than they do with Lynyrd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchett.

A collective sigh of relief could be heard throughout the grounds, in the form of drunken rebel cheers, when, to close the show out, "Manifesto No.1", "Steady at the Wheel" and Jennings' most well-known song, the autobiographical "Fourth of July" were belted out in prefect country-rock succession.

With Jennings' musical fireworks shooting forth from the stage, Day Two of Musink proved to be a day of quality art and even better vibes.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note:
Jim Rose might have been amusing or entertaining in his younger days when he was touring with Nine Inch Nails or on one of the original Lollapalooza tours, but good gosh, the man has had it. Over the course of two days and a dozen rehashed jokes that had absolutely no business being repeated, it's safe to say that Rose is the comedy equivalent of a tattoo ink needle.

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Kelly Dearmore