Saturday night, the wife and I braved the torrential downpour and ventured out to the State Theatre to see Hank III and his traveling band. Due to some issues with openers in the past few months, Hank is currently (and for the unforeseeable future) touring without any opening acts, which would normally make me pretty happy but III has a history of bringing some pretty good bands out on the road with him. Anyhow, due toJeff O'Kelley.]
Some of you might be wondering, given my stance on IIIs recent albums, why I would even bother going to a III show at all. Well, truth is, the fact that the wife and I would get in for free certainly aided in the decision, but theres also the fact that Ive never said the dude puts on a bad show. No. Redundant topics and tired material aside, Hank III live is still a show worth going to see and this especially rainy Saturday night was no different.
Once the band took the stage, the format was pretty standard: country, Hellbilly, country and Assjack. Hank took the stage and immediately took command of what had to be a capacity crowd. The opening country set came in pretty short, with the band only playing three or four numbers before being joined on stage by Assjack frontman Gary Lindsey [pictured after the jump] for the Hellbilly set.
Now, I gotta say, Ive seen Hank III a lot of times, and this was probably the best Hellbilly set Ive ever seen from him.
The band was tight, the sound was great and Lindseys growls, screams
Hank made up for the short duration of the initial country set with the second that stretched on for over an hour. They did a really good job of interspersing the newer (not as good/bad) material in with his older (awesome) stuff so that I, an avowed nonfan of his recent material, never started looking at my watch, wanting the set to be over. That said, as is typical for me, I left before the Assjack began. I love the fact that he plays the Assjack set, but Im only lukewarm to it on CD and do not like it live at all.
In the end, the show really reinforced my overall opinion of III these days. You can see the talent in him, but the last two albums have just felt, in a word, lazy. The songs dont even come off well in a live environment. As I said when reviewing The Rebel Within, hopefully the last two albums were put out to get off Curb Records and now that hes free well see a return to Straight To Hell form.
More photos by Jeff: