Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 21, 2008
BoDeansAuditorium Shores, Friday, March 14
For a Wisconsin band, the BoDeans sure love Texas, which is made obvious by their frequent appearances here. With this well-attended free show, they demonstrated why Texas audiences love them back. After 25 years together, Kurt Neumann and Sammy Llanas have boiled their sound down to harmonic chemistry and a dedication to anthemic roots-rock. While highlighting material from their just-issued T-Bone Burnett-produced Still, the duo and their musical backers hit several high points from their lengthy career with healthy workouts on bob-along "Fadeaway" and the freight train beat of "Texas Ride Song." Newcomers "The First Time" and "Everyday" proved Neumann and Llanas haven't lost the ability to compose heartland rock with a burnished sense of style and crowd-pleasing hooks. Austin's Bukka Allen took the spotlight occasionally. Whether hammering the keyboards or low-slinging his accordion on dirty blues "Good Work," he added an essential element to the BoDeans' Americana clamor. When the band began in the early 1980s, few would have predicted such longevity, but this display of heartfelt lyrics and effortless showmanship illustrated why they'll likely be around for a long time to come.