Dave King Trucking Company at Loring Theater, 1/15/11

KING 07.jpg
Photo by Nikki Miller
Dave King Trucking Company
January 15, 2011
Loring Theater, Minneapolis

Saturday night, the Dave King Trucking Company not only inaugurated the Loring Theater's return to its roots of cinema, theater, music and variety performances, but also taught us what that one really snobby, totally way-too-hip genre has in common with that one really podunk, really redneck and missing teeth cousin-humping other genre. I kid - not all jazz fans are snobs, and not all country fans are missing teeth. But close.

The $12 ticket price may have seemed steep to those who didn't know what the show would hold in store for them. This wasn't your average performance - it felt intimate, special, beginning with a Q&A with front man/percussionist Dave King and the concert series' organizer, and ending with what proved to be a performance full of personality, King's humor and knack for storytelling just as much a highlight as the musical performance itself.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

During the Q&A, King shed a little light on what we could expect from the night's performance. He explained the music we'd be hearing would sound like Americana meets avant-garde. That the name came about because he's obviously the leader of the band, but prefers to think of the assemblage of players as a trucking company rather than the more traditional alternative of "Dave King Quintet." A little on how he composes, and how he leads. On the art of remembering music (note, it doesn't involve charts). That while the idea for the band has been in the works for years, and the band has played at both his 2010 Walker Art Center festival and at the Artists' Quarter, the group was coming together this weekend for the first time to record, and in fact had written a few of the newest tunes during their practice for the session and sound check for Saturday night's show.

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Photo by Nikki Miller

From there the band, comprised of Erik Fratzke on electric guitar, Adam Linz on bass, Brandon Wozniak and Chris Speed on tenor sax, and King on drums, launched into a nearly two hour, two set performance marked by consistently solid groove and illustrative song titles. The group has been described as "if the great Nashville bands of the '60s and '70s could improvise and were Coltrane fanatics."

KING 08.jpg
Photo by Nikki Miller

This country meets jazz thing - I had a hard time wrapping my brain around that one, because for me, each genre exists in such discrete terms. Think Cash, Miles. Waylon, Parker. Uhhh... Statler Brothers, Marsalis Brothers? Taylor Swift, Lorie Line? Right. Anyway, I hadn't the foggiest where that twain'd meet. King's Q&A description of what this group hoped to accomplish here, however - Americana meets avant-garde - made my foggy thinking a little bit clearer. Think Americana, sans the rootsy Garrison Keillor vibe, add experimentation, and there you have it.

So, how country was this show? Well, Adam Linz was wearing a blue long-sleeved International Harvester shirt. Is that country? Is it? I defer to Craig Morgan for a response:

That said, I wish these guys would dress more country. And I don't mean boots, cowboy hats, rhinestones or bolo ties. I mean nu-country: bad goatees, frosted tips on spiked hair, two tribal tattoos each - one for each arm. Because that would be funny. To me.

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