Waco Brothers: Yard Dog Gallery, Friday, Mar 17

Wednesday Night

Waco Brothers

Yard Dog Gallery, Friday, Mar 17

Late Thursday night, the Waco Brothers' set at Scholz Garten was cut short by a sudden deluge of rain that left both the band and their hearty fans less than satisfied. Jonboy Langford and company more than made up for the interruption the following afternoon at their label Bloodshot's annual backyard gathering at South Congress gallery Yard Dog, with a performance that was frenzied and exhilarating -- ample proof that, on occasion, rock can still possess the ability to affect people in extraordinary ways. Onstage, the Chicago-based Wacos have long been known as a highly energetic, whiskey-fueled experience. Friday's performance, though, was the stuff of legends. A crowd of 200 or so had gathered in the space behind Yard Dog by late afternoon, and interestingly enough, the ages of those in attendance ranged from pre-schoolers to grandmothers, but in the face of music performed with this much soul and enthusiasm, any such distinctions fell away and the scene became a heaving riot. Though the air was damp and chilly under the party tent, the band nearly burned the place down. Performing with the energy of 60 men rather than six, the Wacos drilled through favorites like Neil Young's "Revolution Blues," the traditional country classic "Wreck on the Highway," and "Plenty Tough, Union Made." When the Mekons' Sally Timms joined them for a brisk run-through of John Anderson's "Seminole Wind,"things started to crank into overdrive. Nashville based singer-songwriter Lonesome Bob was called onstage from out of the crowd and his anthemic, "Do You Think About Me?" stirred the ecstatic ensemble even higher. Beatle Bob then appeared next to the band, bopping and shaking amid fits of laughter and feedback. The Wacos tore through "White Lightning" and then into "Folsom Prison Blues" and dancers of all stripes jumped into the uproar on the tiny platform of a stage, seemingly destroying the barrier between band and audience. As the last bits of the tumultuous sound faded away, the crowd picked up the slack, cheering with all their might. A feeling of exhilaration permeated the air, leaving all assembled smiling the knowing smile. They'd been to rock & roll nirvana, and life just couldn't be any better.

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