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The Drive-By Truckers; whiskey, guitars, and twang

A live review of the Truckers' Dec. 3 concert at the Music Farm



The Drive-By Truckers
Music Farm
Dec. 3

Athens, Georgia-based Southern rock revivalists Drive-By Truckers have made their reputation on the road. Their Thursday evening gig at the Music Farm showed, sometimes, it is the studio recordings that don't do their live shows justice — not the other way around.

Part of the Jack Daniel's Studio No. 7 concert series, a sold-out (full capacity) crowd welcomed the Truckers with a special guest appearance by the Charleston Fire Marshal. As if the packed house wasn't enough of a fire hazard, the place was practically soaked in whiskey.

The band came on strong with "The Company I Keep" (from the new rarities comp, The Fine Print), with frontman Patterson Hood admitting, "Sometimes I feel like shit," and inviting fans to grab a bottle and join in. Hood stood tall as a bona fide rock star, and by all the bearded 20-something's wearing plaid shirts, probably a hero to some.

Hood's longtime bandmate (and presumably drinking buddy), guitarist Mike Cooley kept the energy high, singing tunes like his raucous "3 Dimes Down" (from Brighter than Creation's Dark). The dull roar of liquored-up loudmouths coming from the back bar, bothered some fans, but barely distracted the band. Just when there may have been cause for concern for the most inebriated audience members and their awkward off-beat clapping and slurred lyrics, Jack Daniel's announced that cab fares were paid for. Proceed worry-free.

Until the country ballad "Checkout Time in Vegas," the Truckers avoided the mellower tunes on their new album. The highlight invited John Neff's pedal steel playing to shine — a shimmering backdrop that coated the walls. The laid back atmosphere was short lived as they rushed into "Sink Hole" and "That Man I Shot," both confessions of Hood's murderous mentality.

During a lengthy, off-stage break at the set's end, the audience pleaded for an encore with chants of "DBT!" Upon their return to the stage, they reverted to earlier days with "Let There Be Rock," where Hood proclaims "I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I sure saw Molly Hatchet." Many at the Farm had never seen Skynyrd either, but they sure saw The Drive-By Truckers — and it was one hell of a rock show.

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