Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

21May/091

All My Exes Live in Texas… Which is Why I Don’t Live There Either.

If you already winced upon seeing “Mel” as your posted author for the day – just wait. I’m about to piss you people off some more. I went to a country concert on Tuesday night. Was it my first? Certainly not. What will REALLY piss you off is that I went to a SOLD OUT country concert.

How does that hypocrisy taste?

For a moment though, I want to tend to a comment from last week’s post – particularly, in reference to concert experiences and the music that goes along with that. Because a band “sells me out” does not mean I entirely shut them out of my musical life. I just lose the desire to see (and listen) something to which everyone-and-your-mother thinks is “awesome.” The problem with these “sell outs” is not so much the music or the ego or really even the ticket prices – it’s the audience who has the power to make or break a potentially good show.

At majority of my concerts, I am surrounded by: a) the make out couple; b) too-tall guy in the second row; c) a drunken douchebags; and d) a 16-year-old screaming lyrics to a song about sex without the least bit of irony or confusion (it’s weird, yo). Sometimes I wonder why I still attend shows, but for the most part these instances are tolerable.

The PEOPLE ruin the show. And as my Partner-in-Crime mentioned last night, these seem to be “Bandwagoners” who don’t get out all too often.

Last night I had 6’5” guy standing directly in front of me wearing a 10-gallon cowboy hat. I am only 5’4” in cowboy boots, people! But even he didn’t bother me. It’s standing room only. I’m short. I get it.

It was the immature douchbags behind us who acted as if they never attended a crowded live show. I normally don’t mind females touching me, but this girl pushed my back several times to move me – where I was enjoying just enough arm space for drinking. We had the same line of crowd throughout the entire show – in fact, we moved FORWARD if anything. The girl got all snotty with me to “move up” because they decided to squeeze in (ahem, BEHIND US) on an already-populated floor. I sunk my heels firm into the ground because, well, I was in view of the soundboard, and I like watching the guy work. Super Geeky. I ended up losing my cool, if you can imagine that, and told her if she wanted that “empty space” (seriously, not big enough for half of a person) then to use her feet and (swear word) walk in front of me. Super Bitchy.

Moving on! So House of Blues hosted the Zac Brown Band on Tuesday, May 19. And I had my tall boy (and a PBR) in hand, ready to rock out to some country.

Zac Brown Band at Cleveland House of Blues

Oh, wow... look at my tiny picture.

But wait, this doesn’t sound so much like country! This (with the exception of some chicken songs) blended easily into genres of music that I enjoy on a regular basis.

Check out the set list:

1. A Different Kind of Fine
2. Let it Go
3. Whatever It Is
4. Devil Went Down to Georgia

5. Where the Boat Leaves From / One Love (Bob Marley cover)
6. Who Knows
7. Jolene
8. Whiskeys Gone ("Did he just sing 'lick my sac'?")
9. Neon (John Mayer cover, with a sweet bongo solo by Brown)
10. Some blues cover, which I was unfamiliar with… Damn.
11. Pretty sure this was a cover of “I Lost It” by Lucinda Williams…
12. It’s Not OK
13. Highway 20 Ride
14. Sic 'em On a Chicken
15. Enjoy the Ride – again, not too familiar with country. It could have been a new song, but could have been a cover. Nobody seemed to recognize it around us.
16. Toes
17. Free
18. Into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover)
19. Ja Made
20. Junkyard
21. Chicken Fried

Encore:

1. Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robbie Robertson/The Band cover)
2. Colder Weather
3. I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan cover)

Few Notes:

As much as I would like to stay in the closet with country music (and honestly cannot remember the last time I tuned in), I STILL recognized “Country Fried”. And I may have sung along… Other than a handful of mentions and iPod plays from The Bastard, I was not ultimately familiar with the band or the music (he’s the Big Fan).

Akron-native Ryan Humbert opened unaccompanied with an acoustic set. Good stuff. Humbert is yet another artist brilliantly blurring the lines between rock/country/folk music. Check him out at the Great American Rib Cook-off (with Third Eye Blind) his weekend, and then at HOB again, opening for Pete Yorn.

There was a crowd shout to play some perverted song about *ahem* “lips”, to which Brown refused on account of it being an “all ages” gig. Stupid. Moving on…

“Whatever It Is” is/was a Top 10 Country Hit for the group.

Highlights of my night were “Devil Came Down to Georgia,” “It’s Not OK,” and “Colder Weather.” With “Devil” you really got that chill on how absolutely, freaking-fiercely fantastic and talented these guys are.

Any time a band can perform “Into the Mystic” live, they reserve a soft spot in my musical black heart. (Yes, Swell Season’s Glen Hansard covers this as well on the "Once" album and live, and is almost better than the original… almost).

There was a little bit of beach music, some reggae, some classics – definitely a concert played just right (save for the douchebags). I now know why Zac Brown sells out shows to a variety of listeners.

Next time: perhaps I'll tempt you with current indie stuff on my iPod that sounds like country.