Concert Review: Drive-By Truckers / Those Darlins at the Slowdown in Omaha, NE, October 26, 2011.
The Drive-By Truckers are a sure thing. There is no doubt they will deliver a good show every time you go to see them. Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley deliver the raw, heartfelt songs that the crowd years for without much effort. The band appears to enjoy playing live and it show in how good the performances are.
Those Darlins are a much less seasoned band. They haven’t been going long enough to be locked in like the Truckers. With just two records under their belt the Darlins don’t have the luxury of song selection like the Truckers and are locked into the playing the same songs nightly.
Having a strict setlist isn’t a bad thing; it is a great way for a band to get a nice tight sound and create a good flow for the show. Those Darlins members Nikki Darlin and Kelly Darlin actually switch instruments halfway through the set so the songs have to reflect that so they aren’t switching from song to song. The two constants in the band are relax-styled drummer Linwood Regensburg and Jessi Darlin who takes the lead vocals on most tracks and plays guitar.
The Darlins 13 song/40 minute set actually featured all four members taking lead vocals at some point, a rare thing to see at a show. They put on a spirited show and won over several Drive-By Truckers fans who tend to be generous to opening acts anyway.
Those Darlins blasted into “Red Light Love” to start their set, you might recognize it from a car commercial that airs on TV a lot, still it is one of their finest songs. It was one of only two songs performed from their debut self-titled LP, the other was “Wild One.” Their newest record Screws Get Loose got hit pretty hard for the rest of the set. Rightfully so, it is a fantastic record. As the set wore on they decided to pull out a new track and a cover. The cover was Garland Jeffrey’s “Wild In The Streets” conducted by drummer Linwood Rogensburg.
The selection of songs was excellent. “$” seemed to have extra punch at the live show and “Waste Away” is a down tempo song that will steal the show anytime it is in the setlist. Lead singer Jessi Darlin was a bit under the weather but was still able to put on a stellar show. Here vocals were noticeably effected but still sounded very good with the raw sound of the band. The only disappointment was that Nikki Darlin’s vocals were too low. This didn’t really effect her song “Hives” early in the set but became noticeable behind big sound of the set’s closer “Nightjogger.” “Nightjogger” is a 45 only release for record store day and has been the bands closing song both times I have seen them. It is a shame the song is not on Screws Get Loose because it may be their very best song.
Those Darlins 10-26-11 setlist from Omaha, NE
- Red Light Love
- Wild One
- Screws Get Loose
- Waste Away
- Mystic Mind
- Burn Me Up (new song)
- Wild In The Street (Garland Jeffrey cover)
- Be My Bro
The Drive-By Truckers were up to bat next and came out to a slightly smaller crowd than their last two trips to Omaha. Not that they drew a small crowd but they managed to sell out the Slowdown the last two times and October 26th had noticeably more room on the floor than the previous shows. Part of this is because it was a Wednesday night, that always effect the size of the crowds. Sure Halloween is a few days away still but the person wearing the Team Zissou uniform is either the coolest guy in the room if you get it or some idiot wearing a red beanie.
The Truckers fans were still in attendance though and the band played to that type of crowd. Not that the band really has “hits” to avoid playing but it seemed as if several deep cuts made the setlist. Pulling out gems like “Goode’s Field Road” and My Sweet Annette” made the attendees forget about the absence of “18 Wheels of Love” “Lookout Mountain” and “Women Without Whiskey.”
Patterson Hood came out in stride as pulled “Daddy Learned To Fly” out of his bag of tricks. Mike Cooley, who now almost has a split billing with Patterson in the band, would respond with one of his finest songs “Gravity’s Gone” a rare song performed from the A Blessing & A Curse record. Hood and Cooley now volley signing responsibilities back and forth which really gives their performances an enjoyable dynamic.
Every now and then their pattern is broke by bass player Shonna Tucker taking over on vocals. When Shon-T stepped up to the mic for the only time of the night I must admit that “I Hear You Humming” was not the song I expected her to bust out. The song was a nice soft, slow departure from the rugged styles of Cooley and Hood.
Mike Cooley would really break out his rock catalog soon after with performances of “Birthday Boy” “Get Downtown” and “3 Dimes Down.” The highlight of the night for me was mixed in-between those songs with Patterson singing “Drag The Lake Charlie” an addictive song from the band’s 2010 release The Big To-Do.
The post-encore break set from the Drive-By Truckers is always a little more predictable. The only surprise was “Marry Me” a Cooley song that they hadn’t done the last about 4 times I’ve seen the band. The other closers were the standards “Zip City” “Let There Be Rock” and “People Who Died.” Not that the songs were boring by any means. If you have ever seen the band do the Jim Carroll Band song “People Who Died” you know that it is by far the most intense song that they do. They were joined on the song by the blonde Darlin, Kelly who did much more than go through the motions while sitting in with the band. Kelly really put full effort into the song and pushed the limits of the borrowed guitar she was playing. After that, it was obvious the show was over, some shows have the audience wanting just a little more but on this night the Truckers thoroughly exhausted the weeknight crowd.
Drive-By Truckers 10-26-11 setlist from Omaha, NE
- Daddy Learned To Fly
- Gravity’s Gone
- The Man I Shot
- Where The Devil Don’t Stay
- Go-Go Boots
- Uncle Frank
- Goode’s Field Road
- A Ghost To Most
- I Hear You Humming
- Buckets of Mercy
- Cartoon Gold
- My Sweet Annette
- Birthday Boy
- Your Daddy Hates Me
- Get Downtown
- Drag The Lake Charlie
- Self-Destructive Zones
- Used To Be A Cop
- 3 Dimes Down
- encore break
- Zip City
- Let There Be Rock
- Marry Me
- People Who Died (Jim Carroll Band cover)