The Timeless Sound of Drivin’ ’n’ Cryin’

August 15th, 2011

Drivin’ ’n’ Cryin’ – Mercury Lounge – August 13, 2011

Despite playing together for more than 25 years, Drivin’ ’n’ Cryin’ are rocking just as hard—if not harder than—they were on Day One, which fortunate New Yorkers discovered on Saturday night at Mercury Lounge. Singer-guitarist Kevn Kinney smirked as a guitar twanged, and then the music slowly built into complete rock and roll with the first tune of the night, “Build a Fire,” off 1991’s Fly Me Courageous. The energy then continued into “(Whatever Happened to The) Great American Bubble Factory?” from the 2009 album The Great American Bubble Factory.

Even the band’s slower songs were totally rockin’ and badass. Each tune felt like a song within a song, telling different stories, with the lyrics painting pictures of patriotism, lonely nights, kickin’ ass and gaining wisdom through experience. The anthem-heavy set included “Straight to Hell” and “Honeysuckle Blue,” from 1989’s Mystery Road, and “Let’s Go Dancing” off of Fly Me Courageous.

Over the course of more than two hours (not including a nearly 30-minute encore), the guys clearly had a great time. Kinney, sporting a great cowboy hat, got down as bassist Tim Nielsen, drummer Dave V. Johnson and the new guitarist they picked up along the way and threw in their van (true story) were wildly whipping their heads around, creating a sea of hair. It was awesome. As was the crowd: I witnessed people playing air guitar, howling like wolves and wildly clapping, plus some pretty strange behavior as the alcohol set in and the night progressed. —Kristen Ferreira