To kick off the show, the Drive By Truckers brought along an amazing artist, the one and only Nikki Lane, a self-proclaimed indie-country musician. She has a unique sound, something like a 2012 version of Loretta Lynn with a dash of Merle Haggard on the side. Nikki and her band took the stage for over an hour, featuring songs about new beginnings and reuniting with that special someone in "Gone Gone Gone" and "Coming Home to You."
There was a brief intermission between the two acts, but even with full bladders, no one dared to move. Everyone was jockeying for the best view of the stage. It was getting harder for me to maneuver through the crowd as concert goers filed in for the main event. After one more sound check, Patterson Hood and Drive By Truckers merged onto the stage. It was the moment that all were waiting for. The Truckers dropped their clutch and away they roared.
This was my first opportunity to hear Drive By Truckers live and they did not disappoint. As I snaked through the overflowing venue, camera dangling around my neck, I was stopped many times by the “Truckees” explaining to me what an overwhelming display of awesomeness that I was going to witness... and they were right! Story time had just begun with songs "George Jones Talkin' Cell Phone Blues" and "The Buford Stick." Simply unpolished emotion drains out the Truckers song after song dislocating thoughts as they discharge stories of country, grit and soul to extended ears.
"There’s something else in these songs - happiness. Not joy, but the rare, more sustainable and enduring thing, a happiness earned by exploring the darkness, and surviving."
I’ve been to Headliners a handful of times and I’ve never been witness to this venue so packed with such a wide range of patrons, young and old alike. I noticed while shooting that almost every person in the crowd knew or thought they knew every verse of every tune the Drive By Truckers belted out. The whole place had an energy that was like nothing I’d experienced before. This is one show that I was glad to be a part of and I feel kind of silly for not checking out the Truckers and Nikki Lane sooner.
With all that being said, I hope that the images from a once-in-a-lifetime night with two true innovators of sound portray even a fraction of what really happened at Headliners Music Hall on February 9th, 2012.