Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rockin' Out: Drive-By Truckers @ Webster Hall 04/01/10

I've extolled the virtues of the rock n roll machine that is the Drive-By Truckers a few times on this blog already, so I feel it unnecessary to explain again what a massive fan I am of theirs. As soon as I heard they were playing Webster Hall earlier this year, I snatched up tickets immediately. An always reliable live band I knew this was going to be a typically good performance from DBT. And as I expected it most certainly was a good performance from the band, but like The Whigs/Band Of Skulls show the night before, the audience was a hindrance to my total enjoyment of the show.

My first clue that something might be different about the crowd that I had grown accustomed to at a typical DBT show should have come from the fact that this show sold out in advance. I'd never heard of the band doing that before in NYC, but didn't think twice about it. They've been at it a while, touring their asses off and building momentum. And now they are on a bigger label, ATO Records (which is actually Dave Matthews' label and I cannot stand Dave Matthews, but damn if that guy and/or the people running his label don't sign some good bands) who are giving them a nice push and better support, so more people know about the band. These guys are out their busting their asses trying to make a living at this, so god bless that they are now starting to make a better living at it.

Anyway, we entered Webster Hall and found ourselves a nice spot in front of the bar, right in the middle of the crowd and facing center stage. The band walked out and kicked into an excellent track, "The Fourth Night Of My Drinking", from their new album The Big To-Do. This was followed by two more new songs, "Birthday Boy" and "Girls Who Smoke" and then went into "Marry Me" from 2003's stellar Decoration Day. I'd like to say I was enjoying myself this whole time, but instead myself and the 6 or 7 other people I was with all had to keep one eye on the couple in front of us who were dancing around with complete disregard for the people around them. We literally had to make sure that this guy wasn't going to accidentally clock someone in the head with his fist. Now let me clarify that I am all for dancing and having a good time at shows. That is what live music is all about...cutting loose and having a great time. That being said, being a jerk and ruining other people's good time is not acceptable behavior. And let's face it, this is the DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS and not Lamb Of God. This couple did finally calm down after "Marry Me" for whatever reason (maybe they got tired, maybe they caught a couple of our dirty looks), but were quickly replaced by a new problem....

As I was watching the band/dodging dancing couple's flailing limbs, I overheard a shrill voice yell "YOU JUST SPILLED BEER ON MY FRIEND!" directly behind me. I turned and saw a little stereotypical 20-something petite brunette who probably has a picture of herself making a pouty face while wearing a tank top and short skirt as her Facebook profile pic (and I don't mean that in a condescending is simply the best way to give you a visual of what she looked like) yelling at my friend. He calmly told her that not only had he not spilled beer on her friend, but he hadn't spilled beer at all. She gave up the argument immediately. I then noticed she had a little twin with her and two guys behind them who appeared to be boyfriends/suitors. One guy had a shaved head and some sort of Affliction (groan) shirt on and the other guy basically looked like Pauly D from Jersey Shore, but with an Allman Brothers hoodie on and at one point the latter was screaming "BONNAROOOOOOO! BONNAROOOOOO!" during DBT's set. If you can't see the humor/stupidity in that, then I can't explain it to you. It then hits me that I remember these were the same people that seemed grossly offended when I politely pushed my way past them to get to the bar for a round before the show had started.

So, as the show continues, we got to hear the bassist Shonna Tucker sing yet another new song called "(It's Gonna Be) I Told You So" before the band went into yet another pair of new songs, "Get Downtown" and "This Fucking Job" sung by Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood respectively. All enjoyable, but at this point, little guidette gals are now standing in front of me because they are both pretty short and we thought the polite thing to do would be allow them to stand in front of us. In an effort to be a nice guy, I turn to Pauly D and say "Hey, do you want to stand with your girl?", to which he replies "Yeah." and simply pushes past me. His bald friend follows and within seconds all four of them are now flailing around like the earlier couple. *sigh*

My one friend politely asks them to stop to which Pauly D responds "WHAT! WHAT!" and gets in a defensive stance. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. At a Drive-By Truckers show we now have a wanna-be yo boy trying to start a fight over politely being asked to respect his neighbors? Some exchange of words happens of which I cannot hear anything. All I know is that my friend is keeping a calm tone, but I just see the look on these two douches faces and know they are looking for trouble. The funny part is that they weren't that big and my friend who is a pretty big guy could have simply knocked their two heads together and that would have been the end of it and even if it wasn't, these guys were outnumbered at least two to one. But, my friends and I are way past our years of getting in random fist fights (not sure most of us were even in those years to begin with), so my friend who had been exchanging words with them turned to me and asked if I might be interested in finding another area to stand and I obliged to keep him company. Some people might think that was backing down or letting them win and actually that is exactly what it was, but it is also called being an adult and not wasting your time on morons. Getting in a random fight with two idiots that we had at least ten years on and subsequently getting thrown out of the show isn't even in the ballpark of being worth it. Karma will take care of them.

My friend and I staked out a new spot (bumping into a friend of mine I hadn't seen in a while in the process which was nice) and enjoyed the rest of the show in relative peace. The funny part about our new spot was there was this huge intimidating bald guy in a Maiden t-shirt near us who I high-fived because of said Maiden shirt and he was completely friendly and the polar opposite of our previous neighbors. DBT finished their set with rousing renditions of "Let There Be Rock", "Lookout Mountain" and what appears to be their closing staple "People Who Died" (a Jim Carroll cover).

So, great show with a few bad apples in the audience distracting me from just watching the band. I'm really happy to see the Drive-By Truckers gaining more recognition and expanding their audience, but it sucks that I will now have to deal with that kind of element when seeing them live. That being said, I wouldn't wish that the band would stay the same size forever and not grow and play bigger venues. After all, at bigger venues I can more easily avoid jerks anyway right?

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