Sunday, May 17, 2009

Live: Drag The River with Joey Cape @ Bar Nine 5.16.9

I love me some Drag The River. I had heard the records before, but never really fell whole hog for the Kings Of Ft. Collins, Colorado until I got a copy of It's Crazy for Skyscraper, but once I heard that little chestnut, I stepped lively and picked up all their stuff. Better late tahn never, I guess. Drag The River are yet another of the fabulous bands on the Suburban Home roster, featuring Mr. Jon Snodgrass of Armchair Martian and Mr. Chad Price of All playing more twang oriented delights, often with JJ from The Nobodys and whoever can sit behind a drumkit for a couple rounds. The force is very strong within them.

Drag The River went on hiatus soon after It's Crazy, but the breakup didn't seem to take. The gents have been awful busy of late, releasing a gang of 7" and comp stuff (thoughtfully compiled by Suburban Home on the stellar Bad At Breaking Up) and touring a bit on the West Coast and in Europe. Jon has even taken the time to finally release a stellar solo record on Suburban Home called Visitor's Band that you should pick up immediately. Snodgrass teamed up recently with Lagwagon/Bad Astronaut singer Joey Cape to play a ton of solo shows and Chad came out for a week or so to play these East Coast dates as Drag The River. It's sad that Drag The River shows end up being this way on the East Coast, but it's not getting any cheaper to tour in a band that doesn't make any real money, so we East Coasters take what we can get.

The show was at Bar Nine, in the shockingly sanitized 2009 version of Hell's Kitchen. I hadn't been there before and had low expectations, but I've got to say that it's a pretty nice little space. Judging by the decor and the familiarity all the bands seemed to have with whoever he was, I get the impression that the owner is a former rocker. Joey Cape was a couple songs in by the time I rolled in. I always kinda liked Lagwagon and genuinely enjoyed Joey's solo record, but had really hoped to miss him and talk to girls at Heath's party. NY shows being NY shows, and the crowd being a drinking one meant that things were pushed back. They crowd was pretty drunk and vocal (as in singing along) which made things easier for Cape, who was alleged to be sick. The crowd wasn't huge, but they sure ate every song up, grabbing the mike at every opportunity to sing along. Chad Rex played an opening set before backing Joey on second guitar and/or mandolin. I couldn't tell you the names of any of the songs, but I was definitely in the minority.

Joey sounded great and went over big, but the big issue for me as:re the Cape set was that it wasn't Drag The River. Jon came over to say that he liked my shirt (R.I.P Split Lip Rayfield) and proved to be a hell of a nice guy. He begged off after a minute to play the last three songs with Joey. It seemed like they were trying for a seamless set, and as it was mostly acoustic guitars it would have been easy, but bar-time precluded such matters and Chad Price made it up after a couple of minutes. Chad's cut his hair, which lends him a slightly disconcerting bit of a Yosemite Sam vibe, but he and Snodgrass really sound great together. The gents had been drunker than usual the night before in Boston, with Jon blacking out on stage a half-hour before he left it, but they showed up in comparatively rude health and played a great set. I have yet to understand how, or perhaps moreso why, Sambuca was the tipple of choice for the gents, but it got us a bunch of favorites, including a new Snodgrass work in progress called Lawman that ended up being a running gag. No Calloused Heart #2 or any of my favorites from Bad At Breaking Up but all in all a hell of a great set. I wish I had recorded it.

I'm not sure when I'll see Drag The River again or when I'll make it up to Hell's Kitchen to rock again, but it was a hell of a good time. I wish I could have seen them last night in Hoboken. That was the last date on the radar for a bit, but keep track of Drag The River here. You can find Joey Cape in this corner of the interwebs.

R


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