Live: The Drive-By Truckers Reek Of “Dude” At Webster Hall


Drive-By Truckers
Webster Hall
Thursday, April 1

I admire these dudes (who appear in these pages, virtual and literal, with alarming frequency) for distilling complicated societal ills into one compact, blunt, blaring, paradoxically rousing burst of Southern rock: What “The Man I Shot” did for the Iraq War and “Sink Hole” did for killing the banker with designs on your family home, “This Fucking Job” will do for, well, your fucking job. Much like Cam’ron’s “My Job,” it vacillates between aggression and self-pity — “Nobody told me it’d be easy/Or for that matter it’d be so hard,” co-frontman Patterson Hood drawls on the chorus — but unlike “My Job,” it’s powered by grouchy, terse guitar riffs and a disconcerting era of triumphalism: No band around makes crushing depression sound like so much fun.

As a veteran of the live DBT experience I’ve come to appreciate the recurring elements: heroic quantities of Jack Daniel’s will be consumed (the bottle passed around before note one, and then they launch into a tune called “The Fourth Night of My Drinking”), co-frontman Mike Cooley will look cooler smoking a cigarette than pretty much anyone left on earth while churning out sardonically wise story-songs like “Marry Me” and “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac,” large swaths of whatever new album there is to promote will be paraded before us (that’d be The Big To-Do, imbued with a nice power-pop ferocity), and the whole thing will climax with “Let There Be Rock,” Hood’s anthemic ode to not getting to see Lynyrd Skynyrd. Oh, and your encore is Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died,” way more poignant now of course. “The whole thing just reeked of ‘dude,'” notes a female colleague, appreciatively, of her inaugural experience. But one song in particular got everyone really, really excited: “Hell No I Ain’t Happy,” the titular chorus shouted en dude masse. Now everybody back to work.