Saturday, September 25, 2010

500 Miles to Memphis -- Red & the Black - Sep 24 2010

500 Miles to Memphis - This band hails from Cincinnati, which is 414 miles from Memphis according to my distance calculator. The band also has Kentucky roots(routes?), so perhaps it is around 500 miles, depending on the starting point. I thought tonight's theme would be Americana, and I was mostly correct. They lined up as a power trio with a much older guy playing pedal steel guitar (There appear to be larger versions of this band--note photo for instance). The Americana part is evident in the songs which are of course rootsy with catchy hooks and steel guitar wailing away. But there is a ton of rock energy and even punk attitude and pace. I realize that the singer/guitarist looks a bit like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, but this band sounds like it could be Green Day playing Americana with a steel guitarist. The drummer kicks up a storm and they mention he's featured in a recent issue of Modern Drummer Magazine. No surprise. The bass player does a great job, although the two songs he switches to guitar and vocals are slower and a bit more in the dull country mode. Normally I am ready to blame a steel guitar for making things too dull country, but this guy just wails away in the manner of slide guitarist and does not go for that weepy twang. I am sure that is part due to the songs, but it is skillful playing just the same. They play for about two hours and the crowd is into them throughout. It's painfully hot and humid in the club tonight as there is some renovation and a bit of expansion even taking place. Loads of originals plus decent covers of Waylon Jennings' "Good Hearted Woman" and the Beatles "A Day in the Life". This is a very enjoyable live band who is headed back here in December. Hopefully the word will spread.

Quote of the Night: Late in the show... "Any requests?"  "Air Conditioning!"

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