First and foremost — it was the smokiest show I’ve been to since the ol’ Smokel Underground days. It was the first show where my eyes hurt from the smoke afterward, as smokey as the famous Sokol Built to Spill show from seven or eight years ago. Smokier than The Brothers and O’Leaver’s combined. It was weirdly smokey.
Part of the reason was the size of the crowd. One of the folks who runs The Waiting Room insisted that it wasn’t sold out, yet it was the biggest crowd I’ve seen there, ever. You could not approach the stage. I ended up sandwiched against the wall behind the soundboard for the evening. It was especially crowded during Outlaw Con Bandana’s set, probably because people were milling around instead of crowding the stage room. Outlaw put on the best performance that I’ve ever heard from them. Playing as a trio, Brendan Hagberg sounded like a cross between John Hiatt and Vic Chestnutt ripping through a set of short, moving Woody-esque folk songs. Gorgeous stuff.
The Good Life followed shortly after. I don’t have a lot of time to go into detail, other than to say that Help Wanted Nights works as well live as it does on CD. After listening to it for the past few weeks, I have to conclude that it may be the best thing Kasher has done since Domestica (I know, I said that about Happy Hollow, but this is better than that). Roger Lewis’ usual rat-a-tat-tatting was replaced with good, solid, throaty drum action (drums always sound good at TWR). The set was a mix of new stuff and old, as you’d expect. He also threw in a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky,” which seemed out of place and out of sync. That said, I guarantee if he plays it on tour that every reviewer will go out of his/her way to mention it. That’s one of the problems with covers…
Tonight at The Waiting Room, it’s Gore Gore Girls with The Goddamn Rights and The Matt Whipkey Three. $8, 9 p.m.
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