Thursday, October 25, 2007

DBT: Welcome to the dirt underneath, y'all

A few comments, links, set list, and a few photos from Drive by Truckers acoustic show at the Park West in Chicago Monday night, Oct. 22.

I know y'all have heard me talk about this before, but this year the Truckers went on an extended acoustic tour. To differentiate, they call their usual electrified concerts The Rockshow (as in, "Welcome to the rockshow y'all!") and their acoustic shows The Dirt Underneath (tdu), which is from a lyric.

Official dbt web site.

J and I had never been to the Park West before. It's impossible for me to think about the Park West without thinking of whichever Vertigo show (and bootleg) where Bono was trying to remember the name of it and failing and not able to hear the people telling him. ("The Park! ... The Park West.")

While I'm at it,
about the Park West.
and just a bit more.

So anyhoo, J and I really loved the venue. It reminded us of a narrower Pageant built in a kind of octagon with a great disco ball. And it seemed very clean. The booths made it like a supper club instead of a skanky venue. A lot of personality. Also my approximately second 'washroom attendant' ever.

We got there during the opener, got drinks, found the bathroom, and waited for our friend Other J, who'd dropped us off at the door and had to park quite a ways away on a chilly wet night (bless 'm!). The floor was pretty empty when we got there and filled up quite a bit during the opener, but we were still able to skate right up to the stage during the break, albeit over toward the end.

Yes, it was strange without Jason Isbell, but perhaps not as strange as I'd anticipated - maybe that's because of the dirt underneath setting, which is a rare and lucky privilege for us to get to see. Or perhaps it was stranger to miss the songs more than the person. Plus it was a rather small stage and rather full, with more people on it than when we saw them before.

set list:
1. Home Front (new)
2. Ghost to Most (new)
3. The Living Bubba
4. Gravity
5. The Opening Act (new)
6. Panties in Your Purse
7. My Sweet Annette
8. Tales Facing Up
9. Daddy's Cup
10. I'm Your Puppet (Kelly Hogan on vocals)
11. Zip City
12. Daddy Needs a Drink
13. Uncle Frank
14. Carl Perkins' Cadillac
15. Tornadoes
16. Women Without Whiskey
17. Let There Be Rock
1. 9 bullets
2. Shut Up & Get on the Plane
3. Angels and Fuselage (with Kelly Hogan)
4. Buttholeville/State Trooper

Dudes, it was a great show. J and I had a good view the whole time, the sound was teriffic, the band gave like they always do, we absolutely love these songs and this band. And our friends really loved it too, which was great. They haven't seen the truckers before and we think they'd like the rockshow even better, but they both really were into it, and we were pleased.

Patterson was talking about how they'd have a special surprise later (he was talking about Kelly Hogan coming on to sing a couple of songs with them) and he said it would be as great as a girl jumping out of a birthday cake. Then he felt compelled to clarify: "It won't actually be a girl jumping out of a birthday cake!"

They continue to play without a set list, taking turns picking the next song, but so smoothly and quickly that one would never know that they aren't going from a list. I don't know how they do it.

Neat to see the fabled Spooner Oldham. He looked like if Einstein and Walter Mattheau had a baby or something, smoking nonstop, kind of huddled over his keyboard, smiling at the antics, drinking, very laid back. You know him from everywhere. I didn't realize that he wrote the song "I'm Your Puppet," either.

Patterson was introducing The Opening Act and he said it was the short film portion of the evening. "It's long for a song, but it's short for a movie," he said, and rambled about how the first half was about trying to do what you have to do, and finally Cooley said in that low sardon of his, "Don't look at me, I don't know what the hell he's talking about."

Someone yelled for Space City right after they'd done Zip City, and Patterson was like, "That won't work, we can't do back to back Cities!"

The Truckers have this great song called "18 Wheels of Love" about how Patterson's mom met her husband Chester, who's a truck driver. Someone yelled out and asked how his mom was, and he said she's doing great, and someone else asked how Chester was, and Patterson said he'd been on his deathbed in May but was fine now and back driving trucks again, which (as he said) is kind of scary.

The Truckers specialize in awesome kind of southern gothic story songs in a dylanesque kind of mode that's not really like dylan at all. I was particularly thrilled to hear Tails Facing Up, Zip City, Uncle Frank, People on the Moon, Carl Perkins' Cadillac, Let There Be Rock, and 9 Bullets. I know that's a lot, but those are some of my favorite Truckers songs ever. The only non-Isbell elements I particularly missed were maybe Lookout Mountain and Sinkhole, which are both Patterson's and both dreadfully awesome, and also Bulldozers and Dirt, which is the song that has the phrase "the dirt underneath" in it and is also totally killer. But that's not really a complaint.

Here's a review from the Chicago Tribune (I couldn't find one in the Sun-Times, so let me know if you know of one).

Patterson Hood's Web site.

Spooner Oldham's official site.

Wes Freed's site. Check out the artist who does great album art and posters for the band.

Here are a few pictures:
John Neff (played with them off and on for a long time, and now an official Trucker)

Spooner Oldham

Patterson Hood

Shonna Tucker, and Mike Cooley on banjo

Dude. Those aren't devil horns.


David said...

Man you did get a great spot on the rail. Great to hear the show was good, the setlist has some awesome stuff in it though I dunno about opening with a couple new ones and dont understand why they never seem to play bulldozers it seems tailor made for the Dirt Underneath and I absolutely love that song.

They hit NYC tomorrow and Im pretty excited though I confess I havent decided yet if I am gonna go to the Saturday show in Brooklyn. If it was the Rock Show id go in a heartbeat but the DU might depend on how much the setlist varies between shows. (Though I hope it doesnt vary enough to deprive me of Zip City, I could never see that song enough)

Occula said...

Yeah, seems like we're either really lucky or really unlucky with location. The opening with two new ones was strange, but at least we knew Ghost to Most (Cooley) because we have it on a TDU bootleg we have. (the other two new ones on the list were both Patterson.)

I think they've been mixing it up at least a little, and actually J said he saw that they have been doing Bulldozers - we happened to miss it. Dammit! Although Uncle Frank and Tales Facing Up ... ohh yeah. It was a different experience, but dude, you know you want to, and I want to hear about it!

I could not agree more about Zip City. I'd like to be seeing it again right now. I love how Cooley can make his narrator a jerk but you still love it. He has such a turn of phrase. Keep your drawers on indeed.