ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

Dave Matthews Band

Big Whiskey & the Groogrux King (RCA)

A saxophone opening anything signals bon temps. Minutelong intro "Grux" teases "Shake Me Like a Monkey," which locks down Big Whiskey & the Groogrux King into a band scrum as thick as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, not to mention the frontman's Anthony Kiedis-like footwork around a monkey puzzle chord tree. One of the group exclaiming, "Yeah," at the song's conclusion ranks right up there with Keith Richards' seal of approval at the close of "Brown Sugar." Successor "Funny the Way It Is" proves no less good at what it does, violinist Boyd Tinsley's brief electric solo perfectly wired to the song's wistful melody and long-distance look. More startling are faint Peter Gabriel overtones to "Lying in the Hands of God." Rejoinder "Why I Am" answers with another rock 'em, sock 'em riff and beat. Even when the album hits its own middle age (the lobotomized "Dive In," "Spaceman"), the flab is completely organic to Big Whiskey. Bad Liver Danny Barnes' gothic banjo on "Alligator Pie" lends its hardcore Cajun tangle a Pentecostal weight. "Time Bomb" bangs more sledgehammer, Matthews delivering an Eddie Vedder-esque emotional expulsion. Whiskey ends on a whimper rather than a bang, the run-time poorly edited, but even then, Big Whiskey quenches big thirst. (8pm, LiveStrong stage.)


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Dave Matthews Band

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