Saturday, March 5, 2011

Old Union

Last night I pulled myself out of the cave that has been my hibernation space for the last month or so and caught myself some good old fashioned live Old Union music at 3rd and Lindsley. It was great to get out and see some familiar faces along with a band that I had never heard of and instantly became a fan of.

After the early show band payed tribute to the entire Police/Sting catalog, and seemingly the entire crew from the Police 2010 reunion tour cleared the stage, two dudes calling themselves the Coldstares took the stage and surprised the hell out of a roomful of people. Their similarity to the Black Keys was undeniable, but as far as I'm concerned, they were much better. I saw the Keys at the Ryman and left early, whereas I couldn't get enough of these guys at 3rd. The singer/guitar player/effects box stomper was super tight with his riffs and solos that sounded like what would happen if Tom Morello got the blues at Led Zeppelin's house. The drummer did a great job filling in the spaces sometimes left open by other rock duos. I bet they'd love to have the chance to tell the Allman Brothers that it really only takes two dudes to play a rockin' Whippin' Post. Keep an eye out for the Coldstares. That is some awesome local rock.

I guess nowadays when Randy Boen, Randy Russell and Spotty are billed to open acoustically, it's a safe bet that means a full on Ballhog set. The 20 minute set up was long and the set was treacherously short. There was an old favorite, an "East Nashville Lullaby" that did a great job of doing what a lullaby is intended to do, and a new one from Russell and Spotty about county jail. How does Randy remember all those words and changes? He nailed it.

Old Union finally came on and treated the 30 or so fans left to a great set. Favorites like "Motels and Highways", "Sweet Freedom" among others were mixed with awesome covers including "Ophelia", "Let It Bleed", and "Serve Somebody". For some reason, Dave the Freight Train was unable to play drums on this night so he was replaced by the drummer from Chuck's solo blues band whose name I never caught. He did a pretty good job for a fill in. He nailed all the stops and changes, and although Dave's rock shoes are almost impossible to fill, the drumming, along with the stellar bass playing from funk house Dubbers, was good and the sub didn't really seem to affect the show. A long jammy sit in from Randy Boen and a vocal appearance from Randy Russell just added to the sense of community. It turned out to be another great night with one of my favorite local bands and all my friends. A good return to live music life after a long winter's hibernation.

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