« Our Duhks Save the Planet | Main | You Don't Know Jack »

December 9, 2006

Suffering Permanent Hearing Loss - and Loving It

There are very, very few arena shows that I get ridiculously excited about, but with a lineup like the "Locked and Loaded" tour featured, including Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and the Randy Rogers Band, well, that's worth the effort of some enthusiasm.

Texas' Randy Rogers Band lit up the stage at the Universal Amphitheatre Wednesday night with their high-energy (especially fiddle player Brady Black, who I really thought was going to do damage to his fiddle, with his aggressive playing - check out their Live at Billy Bob's CD to get a taste of what I mean), while Miranda Lambert burned it down. She's a well-adjusted young lady who likes to sing about revenge, murder, bar fights, etc. Her big hit is called "Kerosene," her current single "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," and she's got another song coming out (her label thought it "inappropriate" for the holidays) called "Gunpowder." Her on-stage presence kicks ass - and I'm not just saying that because I'm afraid she'd kick mine if I didn't - but because she's the real deal (Who else has the good taste to make a point of covering Steve Earle's "Hillbilly Holler"? Okay, I was the only one in the audience singing along, but good for her for making the people aware!).

Dierks was for sure the most mainstream act of the night, but he is one of the more genuinely talented artists of the genre. While I think he has yet to put out an album that truly captures how strong he is live, Dierks always entertains, and gives me hope for mainstream country music. Dierks has a background in bluegrass (and unlike a certain other mainstream artist who has recently made the laughable announcement that he's going to produce a bluegrass album, because bluegrass is such an influence on his shows), and it shows. Dierks played a couple of songs - including his hit "My Last Name" - acoustically - with fiddles, banjos, and the four or five guys gathered around one mic. Dierks is a guy who likes the atmosphere of small clubs, and to re-create the feel of a more intimate venue, the first several rows of the orchestra section were removed for standing room only - for those who had wristbands. Unfortunately, the sound was a little off - it seemed that after the first song, one guitar was awfully loud, and to compensate for it, Dierks seemed to be singing even louder - distorting the sound. Many audience members left early, citing the loudness as the reason, which unfortunately made the venue even emptier. This was clearly not a sold-out show, which was disappointing for such a strong lineup. The show finished with a cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," turned into a duet with Miranda. And believe you me, there's nothing scarier than the intensity in her eyes when she sings, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die," 'cause you believe that after a song like "Gunpowder," she just might have.

Posted by darlin at December 9, 2006 10:14 PM