Varsity Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA 9/29/2008
Of the many times I've seen Drive-By Truckers, this was probably the heaviest performance in terms of expressing their lyrical and compositional gravity. Funny songs like "Steve McQueen" took a couple of "fuck cancer" dark detours, "Nine Bullets," played as a request for a friend that happened to be in town, was rather glorious, rolling in the nihilist haystack forked up from the withered crop of rock 'n' roll. Cooley's songs hit like arrows suddenly piercing the wall next to your head, esp "3 Dimes Down" which might be my favorite song of his. And theirs. And anybody's.
And honestly, I never all that liked the protracted intro to Shonna's "Homefield Advantage" until last night; instead of being the padding I wrongly considered it to be, it builds the game tension necessary to have that release when the song proper kicks in. I could easily hear a collaged murmur of a baseball announcer's "and there's the pitch" implied in the thundering intro.
The noteable cover was Tom Petty's "Rebels" - one foot in the grave, the other foot on the pedal, I was born a rebel - one of the great lines in rock; practically a thesis statement for the band, for The Southern Thing, for all that shit y'all. Drive-By Truckers, thanks for coming.