The upstairs concert space at the legendary Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge last Tuesday served as temporary home for one of the best bills in the alt-country/folk-punk scene in this writer’s recent memory. Headlined by the often-imitated, never-duplicated Drag The River, the bill featured support from two of the best local acts in the game (Dan Webb & The Spiders and Matt Charette & The Truer Sound) as well as an appearance by Little Rock, Arkansas’ Adam Faucett, himself in the midst of crisscrossing the country on his own US tour. To say that there were beards and ‘gansetts aplenty would be to radically understate the evening.
Dan Webb and his band o’ Spiders kicked the evening off in raucous, garage-rock fashion. Appearing as a three-piece on this particular evening, the band fired through a set that cast doubt on all of those who didn’t vote for them as winners of their night of the preliminary round of the recent Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. That evening’s eventual winners, Dirty Bangs, must be wizards. Check out more Dan Webb & The Spiders here.
Local singer-songwriter Matt Charette, accompanied by his full five-piece band, The Truer Sound. I’ve seen Charette on a number of previous occasions, though this marked the first time I caught him with the full band. Charette’s a dynamic enough performer to more than hold his own when accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, but it was a treat to see him backed by bass, drums, keys and, of course, pedal steel. The set featured a couple as-yet-unnamed tracks that the band are recording for an upcoming 7-inch; stay tuned for that…I can confirm that they’re real, real tight!
Adam Faucett provided direct support, backed by his two-piece band, The Tall Grass. Faucett toured solo in support of Chuck Ragan on the latter’s Winter 2014 northeast US tour, and is currently traversing most of the eastern US on a three-week tour. Faucett’s got one of the premier soulful voices in the game to go along with his dynamic, bluesy guitar playing. The fact that he’s not more of a household name seems criminal. Check out more of Adam Faucett right here.
Drag The River sets have a tendency to be a bit of an adventure. The Chad Price (ALL) and Jon Snodgrass (Armchair Martian, Scorpios) led four-piece are presently touring with Dave Barker on drums and pedal steel and fellow Fort Collinsian Kyle Oppold of Arliss Nancy fame on bass. The increasingly Jameson-fueled set flowed rather freely, adhering to no strict setlist guidelines. Watching Drag The River, you always get the sense that you’re just hangin’ with your buddies as they play a loose, kinda sing-alongy set in your living room. That can tend to create an evening that teeters on the brink either of sloppy, drunken disaster or way-too-long freeform jam (by the band’s own admission), but this evening was nothing of either sort. An early-set Snodgrass broken string forced Price and Barker into audible-calling mode, and they slowed things down for a few, allowing Barker to man the pedal steel, and Snodgrass to change his string. From there,the band seemingly made the setlist up as they went along, taking cues from both the crowd and each other, but never really spiraled out of hand. The result was one of the funner, more engaging shows in recent memory.
Check out our full photo gallery below.
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