Tonight didn’t have any standout interest for me, just a solid lineup I was sure I’d enjoy. Tonight’s token girl Tift Merritt was the best of the three. I wasn’t in love with her music, but I really liked her. She was sassy and spunky and she has some cool friends. Namely Eric Heywood, who just may be the best pedal steel player I’ve ever seen. Then there was a giant of a man who she sang a couple duets with whom I didn’t know, but who had to literally be twice her size. And also John Doe and Chatham County Line, both of who were also on tonight’s bill. One of the coolest things about this series of shows was the spirit of collaboration that existed through all three nights; seldom did anyone play a set without someone from one of the other bands joining them. That happened a lot tonight.
The Minus Five (who were pretty great by the way) called the night’s first act Australian Darren Hanlon back out to play a song with them. Turns out Hanlon used to play that very song and tell people he wrote it, a fact he had recently admitted to Scott McCaughey. Hanlon’s set had been fleeting, so it was nice to see him back on stage. The old timey boys in Chatham Co welcomed John Doe to gather around their mike, and Doe did the same for Merritt. Then the Sadies backed Doe for a few songs before playing their own set. Got all that? And no, that actually wasn’t one of Los Straightjackets playing with CCL, it was their guitarist/vocalist who gained new respect for the surf rockers after playing one song wearing a wrestling mask. It was first time seeing them after hearing a lot about them. It was easy to picture them playing the basement.
There were several fashion highlights tonight. The sharp dressed boys in CCL and the especially dapper Doe all looked great in their suits. McCaughey may have missed the memo to wear a suit, but his “Dr of Evil” guitar strap more than made up for it. I was especially pleased to see that Dallas Good of the Sadies was again wearing his stunning devil jacket, complete with pentagrams on the front. The Sadies were the perfect band to finish off the night, their high-energy hoe-down chasing away any of the exhaustion that may have been setting in after three long nights packed full of great music. Let’s hope they throw another party like this for their twentieth!
Chatham County Line