Well, The Filter Kings have to be pleased with the turn-out Friday night for their CD release show. I didn’t get an official count, but my eyeball estimate would be at least 200. The crowd was about half that when the Wagon Blasters went on at around 9:30, probably because of debate.
I didn’t realize that both Thornton brothers were in the Wagon Blasters — Bob and Bill playing bass and guitar. As such, it was sort of like a Frontier Trust reunion. We were even treated to a couple classic FT songs, including all-time favorite, “Swimming Hole.” Even the new stuff had that slightly country-fied (fried?) twang that FT was known for, more so than the faster, harder, guitar-burning stuff that makes The Monroes so special. The common denominator: Gary Dean Davis, who sports the same hollerin’ auctioneer vocals regardless of whoever’s playing guitar.
Next, Black Squirrels did their usual laid-back set of homemade bluegrass — always pleasant. Then it was the Filter Kings’ turn. The band seemed properly amped for the show, much more revved up than the last time I saw them just a few weeks earlier. The overall vibe felt chaotic and rough-hewn. Out of the box they had trouble with the stage sound — frontman Lee Meyerpeter frantically pointed at his microphone and guitar, then pointed skyward. Feedback ensued, and was a problem throughout the set. Still, the band sounded on-point playing songs off the new album along with a cover or two, including a gut-punch tribute to Jerry Reed via a scorching version of “East Bound and Down,” which we all remember from Smokey and the Bandit. Guest vocalists came and went all night, including Kat from Cloven Path and Kat from Black Squirrels. The crowd did its share of hootin’ and hollerin’, and for one night, The Waiting Room was transformed into a Midwestern version of Gilly’s.
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Tonight at the Waiting Room, the red-hot Dr. Dog (currently at No. 6 on the CMJ Triple A top-20) plays with openers Delta Spirit and Hacienda. $12, 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr. it’s Birdmonster and local heroes Fortnight (Jenn Bernard of Park Ave.). $8, 9 p.m.
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