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The Bottle Rockets, Mercury Lounge, NYC: The long way isn’t the wrong way October 17, 2009

Posted by Anton A in American music, Bottle Rockets.
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I saw The Bottle Rockets at the Mercury Lounge last night.

They’re exactly the band that I want to see in a small club on a Saturday night. Classic two-guitar / bass / drums instrumentation. Hard Southern rock, smart chord progressions with a bit of a country twang, just what you’d expect from their St. Louis roots. Or: an amalgam of Drive-by Truckers, Crazy Horse, the Who & 70’s Hot Tuna. However you want to describe them, they brought the goods for an hour & 40 minutes.

I got up one row from the stage, close enough to see that Brian Henneman plays an insanely customized Fender Music Maker, with 3 different single-coil pickups plus a humbucker at the bottom. It also has what looks like an onboard preamp with its own knobs below the bridge. It seemed like overkill on the hardware for a guitar that didn’t hold its tuning all that well, but he sure did wail on that thing.

Opening act, Sons of Bill from Virginia, may be slated to become the Jonas Brothers of alt-Country. I liked them. Good harmonies, good sound. The guy who looked like the youngest of the three brothers is already a distinctive guitarist. They’re much more solidly entrenched in the Country genre than the Bottle Rockets.

It was amusing to think that Echo & The Bunnymen had been on that same stage earlier in the evening. I wish I’d been able to get out of the house a couple of hours earlier. Some nights New York has an excess of musical riches.