|Seen through a haze of drink.|
On Wednesday night (Day Sixty-Nine of the The Project), Brent Best, of Slobberbone, played an intimate free show at the Barley House. About 12-15 people were there, a large percentage of which seemed to know Brent personally. Local comedian Dave Little, a big fan, was there as well.
Crouched over his acoustic guitar and harp rack, Brent croaked out stripped-down versions of Slobberbone songs, covers, and new tunes. With his world-weary Steve Earle voice, he made every number sound like the plaint of a guy who has seen a bit too much and drinks to forget it. There was a little bit of good-natured banter and heckling from his friends and well-wishers, and at one point when someone joked, "Hey, that wasn't funny," to something Brent mumbled, he replied, 'I don't do punchlines. I just sing sad fuckin' songs."
The atmosphere, of course, was relaxed and personal. Brent would start the first few notes of a song, then reconsider, cut it short, and launch into something else that struck his fancy. Among the standouts he chose were a hoarse, angry "Dunk You in the River" and "Man of Note."
Brent's literate story-songs reminded R of Josh Ritter, while of course his delivery and demeanor are more Tom Waits or Neil Young. Of course there wasn't the energy or showmanship of a Slobberbone show, this being more of a song showcase than the Brent Best Experience, but his material is so strong it stood on its own, with minimal presentation.
In sum: Brent Best alone, with acoustic guitar, reinforces the belief that Slobberbone is among the very top-tier rock acts out there.