Thursday, March 09, 2006

Live: Railroad Earth / Hakensaw Boys

First off, I can't summarize this show without a soundtrack:

Railroad Earth || Lordy Lordy
Railroad Earth || Cold Water
(From the Black Bear Sessions)

Railroad Earth is an incredible live band. There's no disputing that fact as the impressive Elko attests (seriously, eMusic is practically begging you to sign up and use some of your 50 free downloads to get this album).

During the first set the band proved its mettle with a strong trio from its first album: "Cold Water," "Lordy Lordy" and "Stillwater Getaway." I'd spent most of my time with Elko lately, so I hadn't listened to these songs in awhile. Their familarity was readily apparent though and it was reassuring to know that only three songs in they had played nothing but winners and yet nothing from the new record so there was much more in store.

The first set reached its peak with its closer, "Like a Buddha." The first notes were definitely an argument on behalf of live music. For a moment, that moment itself was irrelevant and the music was the only thing that deserved your attention. It was a transcendent moment; which made me wish I had a few average reviews under my belt to prove I wasn't just gushing superlatives for last night's adrenaline's sake.

The song "Elko" was the highlight of the second set, again for its lyricism as I blogged about Monday, but a different set of lyics stood out to me in the live setting:
"I need a card / I need a card / Hit me Lord, but not too hard / I need a winning hand"

The interaction between the crowd and band, singing the last words of the main set was fitting, given the size of the room and intimacy of the crowd with the band.

Heading into the encore, the only song I wanted to hear hadn't been played. I was happy to have an affirmative look my way when my call for "Long Way To Go" was heard. Following a great instrumental jam, they played the song and the night was complete. Sometimes the stars align and the show is that good. If you have the chance to see Railroad Earth in your town, do so.

"I like the Hackensaw Boys now, if only because they let us get up front." -- Graham Gerjerts

The Hackensaw Boys were a decent opener. Not the kind of band I'd ever see on their own, nor really invest any time in, but there's no harm in watching them open the show. They do have an interesting percussion set up in the family of tin cans and warshboards. They each referred to each other as Jake Hackensaw or Bill Hackensaw. And I got to see the guitarist open his beer bottle with his teeth, so I guess that was cool. During RRE's set break, the Hackensaws performed an inpromptu (?) acoustic set by the merch table which drew a crowd and inspired the above quote. Good times.

1 comment:

Michael J. Farrand said...

I used to catch Hackensaw in the very earliest days at the Blue Moon Diner in Charlottesville where it all started. Thought you might enjoy my poem "Send in the Hackensaw Boys".