Drive-By Truckers Impress with New Music at Terminal 5March 21st, 2014
Drive-By Truckers – Terminal 5 – March 20, 2014
There are exceptions, but many of the best rock bands tend to be led by two heads, working with an energy that falls somewhere between collaboration and friendly competition. Drive-By Truckers have 18 years under their belt with not a bad album to their name. This has a heck of a lot to do with a friendship and musical partnership that’s even older than the band: Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood have really come to terms with being the songwriting yin and yang of their band.
Much of the praise heaped upon the band’s 10th full-length release, English Oceans, remarked on how the songwriting contributions between the two had moved toward a 50/50 split. This is felt in their live shows maybe even more so, with the two trading singing duties on every other song. It’s hard to prefer one over the other, and if you’re tortured enough to make that decision than you can consider yourself a true Drive-By Truckers fan. Their set last night at Terminal 5 began with three new songs, “Primer Coat,” “The Part of Him” and “Til He’s Dead or Rises.”
“Lookout Mountain” was the perfect transition from Hood’s graveled vocals into a sludgy guitar jam. How exactly he’s been able to tour for nearly 20 years singing the way he does without spitting out blood at the end of every show is one of Southern rock’s greatest mysteries, but it also provides one of the genre’s rawest voices, a perfect accompaniment to the band. DBT classics “Ronnie and Neil,” “The Living Bubba” and the sing-along friendly “Hell No I Ain’t Happy” must be particularly taxing on his vocals. Hood’s voice has made it this long, as has the band, through turmoil, lineup changes and everything in between. But they can’t let it die now, ’cause they got another show. —Dan Rickershauser