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DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS
Live at Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
February 15, 2011
By Rob Browning April 19, 2011

Drive-By Truckers are a touring juggernaut. The past decade has found the Athens, GA, band playing larger and larger venues with every tour cycle. The 2009 Rock and Roll Means Well co-headlining tour with The Hold Steady was a huge success that is still the stuff of bartender legend. Recent months have found the band playing larger opening slots with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as current label boss Dave Matthews’ eponymous horror show. DBT has worked hard to attain their station, and their fan base has grown dramatically as a result. The subsequent combination of old and new DBT fans means New York City shows have been set at the cavernous Terminal 5 of late. And while I am happy for the band’s success, seeing them in such a large venue has meant scaling my fanboy attendance back to seeing them, at best, every other time they make it through town.

As luck would have it, the New York record release show for the new ATO Records release Go-Go Boots was at Bowery Ballroom, site of many earlier, great DBT shows. Tickets evaporated with usual expediency, but I managed to get in and post up stage left. DBT went without an opener for the show, which worked well for a school night, especially when the average DBT set easily stretches to the three hour mark. This one was no exception, featuring most of the new Go-Go Boots record in addition to a fair part of its sister release, The Big To-Do (ATO, 2010). Live stalwarts like “Zip City” and “Tails Facing Up” popped up. The Eddie Hinton love was represented on  “Sandwiches For the Road” and both covers from Go-Go Boots. Patterson Hood proved to be his usual convivial self, aided by the ample wet bar set up on Jay Gonzalez’s keyboard rig and abetted by Mike Cooley’s eminent coolness. Shonna Tucker was her usual demure self, rarely venturing into the spotlight but stealing it whenever she stepped to the mic.

The Bowery crowd started off a little reserved, perhaps owing to the large industry presence, but it soon warmed up nicely, no doubt lubricated by the ample amount of libations the DBT fanbase is known to consume. The combo did alright themselves, although old age has seen the crew scale back their consumption to mortal proportions. The sextet blazed through a brisk 25 songs before coming back for their half-hour encore. No one can ever say you don’t get your money’s worth with DBT. With two records of great material in a year’s time and a rare small show to commemorate the release of Go-Go Boots, DBT continue to assert themselves as one of America’s finest bands.

Set List:
I Do Believe
Go-Go Boots
Marry Me
Puttin’ People on the Moon
Cartoon Gold
The Purgatory Line
The Thanksgiving Filter
3 Dimes Down
Tails Facing Up
Dancin’ Ricky
The Weakest Man
The Deeper In
Pulaski
Sandwiches for the Road
Women Without Whiskey
Santa Fe
A Ghost To Most
Where’s Eddie?
Everybody Needs Love
Birthday Boy
Sink Hole
Gravity’s Gone
Ray’s Automatic Weapon
Zip City
Lookout Mountain

Encore:
Used To Be A Cop
Get Downtown
(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So
Mercy Buckets
Shut Up And Get On The Plane

Photo: Ryan Dombal

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