Zac Brown Band at Target Center, 11/10/12

I say with all honesty and sincerity that on Saturday night, Zac Brown Band sounded better than any other band I've ever heard in one of our cities' two herped tax audited wet socked bedbugged hated arenas, from Tool (I won't admit how many times), to Rod Stewart, to Red Hot Chili Peppers. (The latter was the week I got my first -- ahem, tribal -- tattoo back in the late '90s, and now I'm just begging to be made fun of, so go right ahead.) From the hits, to cuts off their new (and forthcoming) albums, to a handful of covers, the band's sound was huge, and their presence filled that space from front row to cheap seats.

That said and all fawning aside, I gotta keep my journalistic (hiccup) integrity (burp fart) intact here and add this: Zac Brown Band, y'all are kinda a bunch of cheeseballs. And bless you for it. The band's lyrics do come across as a bit cheesy when not downright hackneyed. But then do not the lyrics to all my favorite songs from wayback come across about the same? Have you ever listened to the lyrics to "Roll On Eighteen Wheeler?" Right? They're bad, oh so bad, and yet so good. It's this, not esoteric metaphor, that I suppose makes for a popular song. And I'll concede that they know how to write a damned catchy tune, even if it is your run-of-the-mill "Things Southern Folks Like" list song. (See here: "Chicken Fried." See also: Eric Church's "Love Your Love.")

And the biggest surprise of the night? I even liked it when they covered -- get this -- a Nirvana song. Okay, perhaps you, the reader, have written this review off entirely having heard this confession, and that's fair, but really. If these guys can do an unapologetic barnburner of a cover of "All Apologies," well... all my own for doubting you, my friends. Who pulls that off? It was moody, introspective, powerful, and somehow not contrived. It happened. Nice work guys; that was probably the least dumb Nirvana cover I've heard this side of the Melvins and Leif Garrett covering "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and that only worked because the Melvins and Leif Garrett covering "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is funny. There's a definite trend in pop-rock country dudes who are in their 30s and get a kick out of covering the alt-rock/grunge of their teens, and this is the first time hearing it has not made me go completely batshit. I was stunned.

I don't know what's come over me. All I know is whatever Zac Brown Band was sellin', that arena was buyin' -- no surprise -- but the biggest shocker was that I'd buy it, too.


Critic's Bias: It worked for Ronnie Dunn. It worked for Zac Brown Band. I can't wait to write a blog about how terribly awful and no good I think Paul McCartney is, and wouldn't he just maybe like to invite me to his English castle to, I dunno, give him another chance?

The Crowd: Zac Brown kept the between song banter to a minimum, but when he yelled a shout-out to Polaris (???), no one in this crowd batted an eye. I don't know what to make of this. But yeah, I suppose it was kind of a Polaris crowd. Sure.

Overheard In The Crowd: "My first impression? That is the most redneck auxiliary percussion guy I've ever seen."

Random Observation: The fiddle player was chuckin' T-shirts farther into the seats using just his arm than Zac Brown was using his t-shirt cannon. Seriously, all the way up to the nosebleed section.

"Keep Me In MInd"
"The Wind"
"Natural Disaster"
Joe Cocker interlude! (Yeah, it didn't make sense but am I going to complain about hearing a man with a pretty voice sing "You Are So Beautiful"? No way.)
"Colder Weather"
"I Play the Road"
"Goodbye in Her Eyes"
"As She's Walking Away"
"Can't You See" (sans flute, WTF?)
"The Problem with Freedom" (Levi Lowrey)
"All Apologies"
"One Day"
"Sweet Emotion"
"Knee Deep"
"Devil Went Down to Georgia"
"Jump Right In"
"Highway 20 Ride"
"Ain't Life Grand"
"The Song Meat Loaf Slaughtered at That Mitt Romney Rally in Ohio" (They didn't call it that, but it would've earned them even more points with me if they had)
"Chicken Fried"

City Pages on Facebook | Gimme Noise on Facebook | Twitter | e-mail us

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault