REVIEW: Drive-By Truckers at Summerfest

The crowds began getting antsy as the 8 o’clock hour rolled around, but that energy turned into uproarious cheering as Drive-By Truckers took to the stage. I have never seen DBT before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was greeted with was a cavalcade of sound and pure southern rock mixed with a good helping of country tinge. These guys were clearly masters of their craft and sound after beeing around since the late 90’s it was clear that I was in for a much bigger show than I previously expected.

The Band

Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia. They have accrued a deep following over the years almost to the point of jam band cult status. They mix their lyrics from hard decisions about marriage, incest, break-ups, revenge, murder, and suicide. The mix of eccecltic story telling and fast/slow song playing allow for a story to be vividly crafted in almost every song. Some true, some a bit on the end of a fable. After 20 years of rocking out DBT has what I would call a calm and collected stage pressence. Not being over showy it’s clear that once you have attended a show of theirs you are there for an onslaught of songs over the years.

The Experience

As previously mentioned there was a slight delay to DBT taking the stage. At the end of the show I understood why. After the close to 2 hour Summerfest show (longer than most) and 21 song setlist it dawned on me that I didn’t know what I was in for. It was a marathon of songs sprawling over 20+ years of catalog. I need to admit, as a casual listener I was not ready for the amount of music. While sometimes this can be everything a fan could dream of, for the casual listener it was a bit long for my taste.

As the show went on it felt as though some songs blended together making it feel as certain songs lasted 15 minutes. Again I know that some people very much enjoy this however, for me the monotony was setting in. There was a mixed crowd of people who seemed to feel the same way. As about halfway through the set you could see people leaving or just simply walking through.

With all that said I don’t want that to sway the way I felt about the show as a whole. It was truly an eye opening experience. To have the ability to play to your fans non stop for almost 2 hours is a dream for most bands. The fans who knew what they were getting into were absolutely into it. Overall the band sounded fantastic, each instrument was clean and when the solos came out they truly blew you away. I would say that their most popular song “Gravity’s Gone” was the standout of the evening by having the whole crowd sway and sing with the band.

The Verdict

Drive-By Truckers are definitely a band that knows their audience. They are happy to be on stage jamming out to their hits and playing for their loving audience. I don’t know if it was particularily for me, but that’s not to say they didn’t put on a great set of 21 non stop songs. If you are looking for a good crowd and a long show I highly recommend checking them out. There is a little bit for everyone to be into.

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