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Whiskey, Wednesday and Alice Cooper 

click to enlarge Guest Artist Jack Daniels not Pictured.
  • Guest Artist Jack Daniels not Pictured.
Guest Artist Jack Daniels not Pictured.
Whiskey was the drink of choice last Wednesday at the Midtown Ballroom. Yes, this is still very much a beer town, but the harder stuff came out to greet a pair of Southern-flavored acts in Drive-By Truckers and openers Dead Confederate. The brown stuff made an appearance on stage as well, but we'll get to that in a moment.

Sound Check wasn't quite sure what to expect from the Midtown on this warm Wednesday night - mid-week shows are tough to gauge. It can either be a total sell-out or a night of chirping crickets, we can never quite figure it out. But a respectable crowd of seemingly die-hard Truckers fans filled up about half of the Midtown's concrete floor, creating what we'll call a "mid-sized" crowd.

Athens Georgia's Dead Confederate opened the show with a slightly psychedelic, reverb-intensive set that included a good chunk of the band's increasingly popular EP as well as some lengthy yet soaring improvisations.

When the lights went down for the Truckers' set and the scattered audience gravitated toward the stage with a standard pre-concert holler, the band's Patterson Hood was still lingering on the fringes of the crowd, bottle of beer in hand, as fans snuck in for hand shakes and utterances of star-struck phrases like, "I love your stuff, man," which were likely immediately regretted. Minutes later, Hood had transported himself on stage and was suddenly wearing a sport coat as the band launched into "Marry Me" from 2003's Decoration Day and then "That Man I Shot," a cut off DBT's recent album Brighter Than Creation's Dark, from which they would dig deeply into throughout the two-hour set. While the album is marked by a number of acoustic and classically country numbers, the songs were reinvented in true DBT style onstage - laced with ample amounts of heads-down, foot to the floor rock.

Whenever the spirit caught them, DBT members - whether it was Hood, guitarist Mike Cooley, or head-bobbing, pig-tailed bassist Shonna Tucker - swigged from a bottle of Jack Daniels with the panache that only a true Southern rocker could pull off. If the line for the bar was any indication, this swilling seemed contagious.

Later in the set, they powered through an older cut in "Shut Up and Get on the Plane," before a slowed down, Southern rockified take on Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen," which, once semi-confused fans recognized the tune, turned into a fist-pumping sing along. We're guessing the next time a Cooper tune receives such a warm reception will be when the original goth man himself performs at the fairgrounds at the end of July.


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