The multi-faceted Nashville artist started off the night with what he called the "country part of the show," with his Damn Band playing amplified traditional instrumentation, including banjo, fiddle, lap slide, drums, a red-white-and-blue striped stand-up bass, and Hank on acoustic guitar. Hank has always had a handle on traditional-minded material even as he delivers it with a slight tweak, incorporating subtle song choices like double kick, chugga chugga riffs, and punk tempos that added just enough modern sound to what was primarily straight-ahead country. The long set reached across his long discography, and included some of his material from Brothers of 4x4
which dropped earlier this month.
|Photos by Mark Kartarik|
Though Hank's songwriting is always buoyant and teeming with energy, there can be a sameness to the lyrical motifs. He is drunk rebel who drinks, and he will remind you that he gets himself into some trouble sometimes, perhaps in some seedy locales. This certainly didn't distract too much from his impressive playing, and the band was remarkably tight together.
Each player is skilled at their instrument and got the opportunity to show off on almost every song during breakdowns. The bassist got the opportunity to belt in an excellent metal growl for songs like "Rebel Within." Hank switched up and played a second banjo for the final third of the set and proved adept at multiple instruments and styles of plucking. The set lasted nearly two hours, and Hank 3 had already proven himself to me as one of the hardest-working and dedicated musicians I've ever seen live -- and the show has just started.