Drive-By Truckers. Boulder Theater. 04.12.13


The secret to a happy ending is knowing when to roll the credits…but not tonight!

When Patterson Hood uttered those words during “World of Hurt”, there was no doubt he was trying to convince himself as much as those in the crowd. It’s no secret that Drive-By Truckers have had their share of hurt over the years, and the veterans of that band who rocked the Boulder Theater for almost 3 hours last night did nothing to hide their battle scars. Having seen the Truckers over a dozen times now, I have to say this was a very different experience than any that came before. The music was incredible (as always) and I’ll never complain about a Cooley-heavy setlist, but there was no escaping the void. It wasn’t just the absence of Shonna and Neff, it wasn’t just the memory of Craig, and it wasn’t just the ‘extremely out-of-place, smiley-mess’ Matt Patton — it was all of that, and something more.

Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley have always been the backbone of this band, but last night they seemed like they were just doing a job. They did their job extremely well, but their hearts and souls weren’t in it. Patterson usually leaves everything in a pool of sweat on the stage; last night I feel like he left it on the bus. After seeing the talkative side of Cooley on his recent solo tour, I would have expected him to pick up where Patterson fell in the personality department, but not a word escaped his mouth that didn’t belong to a song.

If this were my first Truckers show, I probably would have left impressed by an extremely good band, but there were very few newbies in the crowd last night, and those who were watching close enough witnessed an extremely good band on autopilot — something I never thought I would say about the Drive-By Truckers.


There have been countless glowing reviews of DBT shows on this blog already, so I don’t have to tell you how much I enjoy the ‘rock shows’. Last night’s show was no exception in that department. I was front and center when they took the stage, and I didn’t leave until the last song was done. Aside from the obvious classics, I was extremely stoked to hear “Tornadoes”, “Road Cases”, “Love Like This” and “The Company I Keep”. However, I was surprised at how many of the slower, darker songs there were. Usually the Truckers are genius at changing it up on the fly based on the crowd response, but last night we were all going to the dark place, like it or not. I, for one, really like the dark place, some of their best lyrics and riffs come from the bowels of our country, but usually they seem to enjoy playing them more. Last night Patterson looked as if he were in physical pain, and maybe he was, he did make comments about drinking a lot of cough syrup, but here’s where the real issue became apparent — it’s not that the band was out of sync with the crowd, it was that they were out of sync with each other either. Actually, I should rephrase that as ‘one of these guys was not like the others’…

Matt Patton. Shonna’s replacement. What the hell man? No offense, but no one came here to see you. So why can’t you just chill out and play bass? Shonna never tried to grandstand. What are you trying to prove? You look like a kid who just snuck on stage with your idols. I have nothing against your playing, but your whole attitude and stage presence is bizarre, irritating, and worse of all, extremely distracting. Please stop. Thank you.


When I interviewed Cooley a few months ago, he was so bright on the future. He said how much he was looking forward to recording new material with the new band. He mentioned how him and Patterson had gotten past all the bullshit and had a great working relationship. The way he spoke about it, I expected great things — despite the turn-over. When Isbell left the band, they went into the studio and recorded Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. I love that album. The tour that followed contained some of the best Truckers shows I have ever witnessed. But last night lacked any new material. And if Cooley ever acknowledged the other members of the band while on stage, I must have blinked and missed it. But the one place Cooley stepped up is with his songs, performing material from almost every DBT album. And I guess that’s all that really matters in the long run.


The encore really summed up the mood of the evening. “Birthday Boy” and “Girls Who Smoke” explore the impermanence of youth and the fear of becoming old and irrelevant. “A World of Hurt” claims that everything in life, even the good things, are painful. “Shut Up and Get on the Plane” is about facing the hard truth that everybody dies and there’s nothing you can do about it. And then there’s Jim Carroll’s “People Who Die” — a staple show closer for years now. The difference with last night’s version is that it was the first time Patterson showed any real emotion the whole evening. That emotion was actual pain and anguish. After throwing his guitar at his tech, he exercised his demons through song. As he leaned over the crowd, screaming “Those are people who died, died!!! They were all my friends, and they died!!!”, you could almost see Craig’s face reflecting in his eyes. But as they band walked off the stage, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end of Drive-By Truckers? Is that why this set seemed so full of sorrow and regret?

Or did Patterson just have a cold?

I really can’t say. Maybe it’s the end. Maybe I’m just being dramatic.

There was a part of me that wanted to go to the second show tonight, just to see if the mood was different, but there was another part of me that just couldn’t get this image out of my head…


Lookout Mountain
A Ghost to Most
Sounds Better in the Song
(Something’s Got To) Give Pretty Soon
Get Downtown
Drag The Lake Charlie
Where The Devil Don’t Stay
Women Without Whiskey
Box of Spiders
Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
Feb 14
Marry Me
Sink Hole
Uncle Frank
Road Cases
Self Destructive Zones
Play It All Night Long
Love Like This
The Company I Keep
Zip City

Birthday Boy
Girls Who Smoke
Three Dimes Down
A World Of Hurt
Shut Up And Get On The Plane
People Who Died




  9 comments for “Drive-By Truckers. Boulder Theater. 04.12.13

  1. dark rabbitt
    April 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    saw them at the wellmont in NJ and they rocked VERY hard for 3 hours maybe 2 slow songs. not many breaks in between songs just ALOT of hard rock style playin. almost punkish on some songs and then truckers southern hard rock on others. forget skynrd they were channeling the allmen bros on a few songs. very very impressive guitar rock performance. at one point 3 guitarists were doing 3 different lead solos at the same time yet there were harmonizing like the allmens would do.

    a joyful noize.

    and crowd gave Patton a big hand at the end because he played his face off with the drummer, the human drum machine.

    one of the best concerts i have been to in my 25 years of shows.


    • April 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      that’s what I like to hear! sounds like all the other times I’ve seen them!

  2. Phil
    April 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I was at Saturday as well. Matt is annoying, and I thought the exact same thing…”looked like a kid getting to play with his idols”.

    Can’t find a setlist anywhere for this show!?

    It had also been a long time since I saw and angels closer, and it fucking rocked.

    • Turtle
      May 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      I’ve seen DBT three times in the past year, once in Aspen and both of the Boulder shows. To say that “Matt is annoying” is one of the dumbest things I think that I have heard! He might “look like a kid playing with his idols” but so what. Some of the guys that were with me said that kind of shit at the begining of the show, but I told them to watch him, he’s good, real good. The only person smiling more that me at those shows was Matt!

      • May 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

        thanks for reading Turtle. I’m glad you arn’t annoyed by Matt onstage, but I assure you I am not alone in the way I feel. The other comments, the people around me at the show, and your own friends agree. I am not saying anything about his playing, I am talking about his stage presence. It’s distracting and annoying as hell! I’ve been the Truckers 12 times over the past 6 years. They are one of my favorite bands. I look forward to the next album. I’m sure Matt will be good on it. But I will not see them live again if he doesn’t change it up on stage.

  3. Ashley
    April 15, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Finally! Someone else who finds Matt Patton’s stage presence highly annoying! I swear, I *might* learn to like the kid if he’d just calm down and do his job. I’m getting tired of his obnoxious antics distracting me from the real show.

    • April 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Judging by the comments made around me, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way on Friday night!

  4. Mark
    April 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Yeah, you should have went to the 2nd night. They were very energized and put on one of the hardest rocking shows I’ve seen in a long time. Patterson admitted he had been sick for several days and that his voice was shot, but he managed it well. He definitely left all on the stage last night. The guitar work between all of them was some of the most inspired playing I have ever witnessed by any band. Overall it was an incredible show, I can’t wait for the next one!

    • April 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      that’s so good to hear!

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