Drive-By Truckers Pull Over in Somerville
Photo courtesy of Drive-By Truckers
If a fan had closed her eyes at the February 22nd Drive-By Truckers show at the Somerville Theater, she could have imagined herself party to a spirited reading of a southern Gothic short story collection. Eyes open, she saw two bowlegged, middle-aged lead guitarists rocking out in a synchronization perfected by two and a half decades and twelve studio albums on the road.
Throughout the show, the crowd stood up and sat down with the duality of the Southern Rock band’s repertoire, transitioning from quick and moving narratives like 2014’s “Made Up English Oceans” to low-energy images in “Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun.” The stage backdrop, a trippy pattern of felines and feline demons, tinged malevolent by a persistent red low-light, sold the crowd on the notion proclaimed by Brad Morgan’s drum set: “The Unraveling is Happening.”
The set was frontloaded with songs from the veteran band’s newest album, 2020’s The Unraveling, somehow more explicitly political than 2016’s American Band. Topical lines like “Raised to know better than // Dying using heroin” from “Heroin Again” and “Stick it up your ass with your thoughts and prayers” from “Thoughts and Prayers,”-- despite a sympathetic audience-- reminded the crowd that Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are storytellers, not stump speech writers.
Classics like “Where the Devil Don’t Stay,” “Let There Be Rock,” and “Women Without Whiskey” carried the two-hour set through the faintest rhyme schemes of the newer albums. The enthusiasm of the crowd persisted through the duration, culminating in an awkward trickle and then contagious swell toward the pit-area during “Angels and Fuselage,” the last song of the performance.
Check out the prolific past and nonstop future of the Drive-By Truckers at https://www.drivebytruckers.com/, and upcoming shows at the lovely Somerville Theater at https://somervilletheatre.com/live-events/.
//Olivia Weeks is a DJ for the Blues Hangover, which runs from 5-9 and 7-11 on Saturday and Sunday Mornings.