Saturday, August 6, 2011

34. The King Bucks at Adair's, 8/5/11

34. The King Bucks, at Adair's.

You hear this band, you best start booty-scootin'.

And now for something groundbreaking in musical journo-blogging!

Just kidding.

It is Day Seventy-One; the end is nigh.  We went to see country super-group The King Bucks at Adair's.  It was free!  Local musicians Don Cento and Trey Carmichael were also in attendance along with maybe 70 or so people.

This is the first time we've blogged Adair's.  It's is a fun dive, festooned with music props, with patron-scrawled graffiti zig-zagging every surface.

Keyboardist and local treasure Chad Stockslager started the evening off with tongue in cheek, old time carny patter with corny jokes, which he kept up throughout the show: "That was written by Ernest Tubbs.  Great songwriter; but little known fact, he was also famous for his home-made Denver-style omelets." Or "Hey, who among you fine people here tonight likes drinking?  This song is dedicated to Alcoholics Anonymous."

The band tore through two terrific sets of originals and covers.  The King Bucks play country, but have so many damned talented guys in their band, they encompass a variety of styles in the genre.  Chad has a twangy, Bill Monroe, Elvis Costello-doing-the-country-thing voice that suits his corn-pone, bluegrass style (sample lyric: "No more fatties in the bed").  Keith does more of straight modern country style, with powerful assured vocals like Dwight Yoakam.  Danny Balis' style is much more honkytonk and maudlin (sample lyric: "If you're trying to kill me, you're already halfway there"), while when Joe takes the mike he turns it up to almost Stray Cats-style rockabilly (or psychobilly, in the case of "The Undertaker").  You basically get the history of country in two hours at a King Bucks show.

(Chris Carmichael, the wiz behind Club Dada's terrific sound system, doesn't do a vocal turn, but his drumming is simply phenomenal.  And he did the fine sound at this show, as well.)

We don't need those other guys.

The covers were well-chosen and terrific fun.  "Mama Tried" was putty in their hands ("that one goes out to Murray Hammond," Danny said), while Old Crow Medicine Show's "Wagon Wheel" absolutely filled the dance floor. Joe delivered a terrific "Willing," by Little Feat.

Actually, the dance floor was more or less active the whole time.  Several couples were quite talented.  Nothin' wrong with a little twirlin'.  One woman was dipped so low her breasts popped out of her dress.  This seemed like the kind of thing that might happen at Adair's. 

After the first set, Chad said, "Stick around for one more set --- we're the King Bucks, God damn it!"  Good advice.  If anything, we thought the King Bucks have gotten better over the years.  Danny's songwriting is honed to perfection; he has the ability to craft country tunes that you swear you've heard before.  Surely "If You're Trying To Kill Me" is a Hank Williams-era standard, isn't it?  Nope, but you'd be forgiven for thinking so. And he does all this while also watching the Rangers on the bar's television. Now that's talent.

(In fact, the Rangers provided a moment of high comedy as Michael Young delivered a home run in mid-song, prompting the crowd to erupt in cheers that briefly drowned out the music.  Danny dryly remarked, "Michael Young, on steel guitar.")

If you come visit Dallas and want to know about its music, you should come see this exact show.  Of course, you can't, it's over now; but you should have been there.  The King Bucks are extremely talented musicians, and they have a good time proving it.

In sum: Go see them as soon as possible.  They're the King Bucks, God damn it.

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