|These are men of note.|
Day Twenty-Three. Back to the Granada for local heroes Slobberbone. It was a decent-sized crowd, but the venue was not as full as it should have been. Tickets were $15.
Slobberbone is a four-piece country-rock band: two guitars, drums, bass, and the occasional banjo. It ought to be noted upfront that we know the Slobberbone guys, we love Slobberbone, and while we do try to be impartial, this is not the place you're going to read anything bad about Slobberbone.
They brought it hard and fast early on. It was loud Texas rawk. Actually, ear-splittingly loud rawk. Our friend C characterized it as "uncomfortably loud." In fact, it was so very loud that even though the Granada has a superb sound system, at times it was fuzzy and muddled. Still, it was great to see them up on a big stage with the sound as powerful as they wanted.
Okay, we covered loud, but did we mention talented? Jess Barr might be best guitarist in Texas. But damn if singer and Robbie Fulks soundalike Brent Best isn't pretty good at the ole guitar too. And superb bass picking/thumping from Brian Lane, he of the big white cowboy hat.
Three songs in, and it remained an unending sonic assault. Great story songs in Neil Young fashion followed by what should be rock radio hits. We were both familiar with the band's material, as we noted, but they seemed to be even better this night than we remembered. There's just no reason they shouldn't be huge. Except, oh wait, that porn-star name. Our friend C illustrated this possibility when, despite absolutely loving the show, he would not buy a T-shirt with the word "Slobberbone" on it.
Crowd favorite "Gimme Back My Dog" was introduced by Brent as "not really about a dog." Brian broke into the song with a deadpan, "Oh, give him back his dog," which got a laugh. We were treated to an explosive "Dunk You in the River," and the funny, bouncy "Engine Joe," which the crowd sang along to with drunken gusto. The terrific, maudlin/silly "Lazy Guy" was introduced with, "I wrote this song about myself."
The songs continued, and the pace did not let up. After a blistering "Can't Stay Sober" --- during which there were intros, solos all around, some showing off (Brian played the bass behind his back and over his head), and a bit of stage banter --- the guys withdrew. The crowd demanded an encore, and they returned to play Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl," ending with a five-minute feedback solo, with guitar and bass on the floor, reverb echoing, foot pedals working, whale noises squawking along with the deep fuzzy rumble of the bass... Just like Neil would have loved it.
In sum: There was not a single moment when they were anything less than fucking solid. They didn't do a lot of talking, preferring to let their instruments make their point; but when they did speak they were funny and personable. One disappointing note: there were no CDs at the merch table! Why not, fellows?
We saw the guys a couple of hours later at the Barley House. They were still sweaty. Now that's rawk.