Classic Concert Review: Scott H. Biram / AJ Gaither at The Record Bar in Kansas City, MO

Scott H Biram with AJ Gaither show poster for the Record Bar in Kansas City, MO on February 5th 2015.

Scott H Biram with AJ Gaither show poster for the Record Bar in Kansas City, MO on February 5th 2015.

The blues and country music aren’t all that far apart. They can be but their roots each run deep in the ground and tangle. Few current acts tie them together as much as Bloodshot Records’ artist Scott H Biram. He is a road warrior in every way, self-dubbed the “dirty one man band from Texas,” he brings his unique loose style to whatever town you are near surprisingly often.

This evening at Kansas City’s The Record Bar he would let the hometown act A.J. Gaither take the stage before him. Gaither, being a one-man-band himself, worked as an appropriate lead in and in response to Biram’s nickname called himself “the smelly old one man band from Missouri.” His country soaked, backwoods songs played on his homemade cigar box guitars ranged from mellow numbers like “Fishing Pole” and “Locust Bayou” to down right rowdy like in “AJ’s Worried Blues.” His overalls, sweat soaked trucker hat and bushy beard are far from an act as he sings about whiskey, women and of course his love of biscuits and gravy.

A.J. Gaither performs live opening up for Scott H. Biram at The Record Bar in Kansas City, MO on 2/5/15.

Scott H Biram sat down after Gaither’s set and glanced at the crowd for the first time looking mundane as he said “Okay, same old shit, different day.” For him it was one of several hundred shows but after about 30 seconds into the first song “Time Flies” he had already summoned the demons and would continue to exercise them for the next two hours straight. He would howl out bluesy numbers like the driving “Graveyard Shift” or the backroom saga “Alcohol Blues” to more classic old-school country tunes like “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue.” His normal fu Manchu had grown into a full beard for the start of this tour showing his gray hairs taking over. His bar-b-que trucker cap and bar-b-que t-shirt from different restaurants appeared to be a coincidence but told a lot about him all the same. He switched between his five guitars as he tapped and stomped on his pedal board but usually settled on one of his classic hollow body Gibson’s to play.

He never takes himself seriously too seriously on stage as he stays incredibly loose while joking with the crowd, at times being as crude as he could but the audience didn’t seem to mind one bit. He would plug in his Gibson Explorer to take on some of his more nonsense songs and do some shredding, occasionally breaking out his metal voice to adorn them like on “Around The Bend.” He pays homage to blues great Howlin’ Wolf by covering “Back Door Man” only a few songs away from covering three straight songs from the catalog of folk legend Woody Guthrie including “Pastures of Plenty.”

As Biram neared the 2-hour mark of his set he seemed to gain momentum and get more rowdy but the weeknight crowd would begin to thin out because it was so far removed from midnight already. The Record Bar house lights slowly came on and Biram used the bill of his cap to block them out and keep playing, hitting some of his finer moments near the end of his set like “Jack of Diamonds” and “I Want My Mojo Back.” In the end you got the sense if he kept playing the venue might need to cut the power for curfew but Biram was unaffected. His endurance for his shows obviously makes sure no attendees feel cheated by a short set but for Biram it is as he said in the beginning: “same old shit, different day.”

Scott H Biram performs live at The Record Bar in Kansas City, Missouri on 2/5/15.

Scott H Biram performs live at The Record Bar in Kansas City, Missouri on 2/5/15.

 

A.J. Gaither setlist for 2/5/15 at The Record Bar in Kansas City, MO:

  • Fishin’ Pole
  • Old Truck
  • Trainhand
  • Faith or Fate
  • Hillbilly In Space
  • Locust Bayou
  • A.J.’s Worried Blues
  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • Stoned in the Mourning
  • Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven

Scott H Biram setlist for 2/5/15 at The Record Bar in Kansas City, MO:

  • Time Flies
  • Goin’ Home
  • Graveyard Shift
  • Gotta Get To Heaven
  • Slow & Easy
  • Trainwrecker
  • Alcohol Blues
  • Just Another River
  • Back Door Man (Howlin’ Wolf)
  • Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever
  • Pastures of Plenty (Woody Guthrie)
  • Union Maid (Woody Guthrie)
  • We Shall Be Free (Woody Guthrie)
  • Rolling Stone From Texas (Don Wasler)
  • Victory
  • Mean Old Frisco Blues (Junior Mance)
  • Low Down Truck Driver
  • All I Need To Make It Through The Night
  • Hit The Road
  • Whiskey
  • Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue
  • I Be’s Troubled (Muddy Waters)
  • Jack of Diamonds
  • Around The Bend
  • Dazed and Confused (Led Zeppelin with improv lyrics)
  • I Want My Mojo Back
  • Thunderbird (ZZ Top)
Scott H Biram performs live at The Record Bar in Kansas City, Missouri on 2/5/15.

Scott H Biram performs live at The Record Bar in Kansas City, Missouri on 2/5/15.

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