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  DRIVIN N CRYIN w/ Something 5 and The Independents  
  The Roxy Theatre  
  Atlanta, GA  
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Hey ----,

How's it going? Enjoying seeing the West? Ready to come home yet? You know how you were shocked when I told you Drivin N Cryin (DNC) were playing Athens for $10? Well, they played in Atlanta a week later for $21. $21? I can't remember the last time I paid $15 for a show, much less $20!

But that's o.k., I really like DNC - Scarred But Smarter is one of those great Southern rock/punk songs. God, I think the first time I heard it I was maybe 15 or so, and I just fell in love with that phrase. It just seemed to sum up the romantic idealism of war wounds and life and just moving on. But I digress.

Anyway, I swear, we saw the worst two opening acts in the world that night. I mean, worse than anyone who would open for Son Volt. We're talking Roger Nusic bad here (didn't I tell you about that show? He opened for Grand Moff Tarkin last year).

The first band was called the Something 5 (seriously "Something 5" - it's like they couldn't remember Dave Clark or any band member). They were "hard" rock - Alice in Chains circa 1991. Bouncing around the stage like a Kurt Cobain jumping bean, acting like it was fun to play the guitar when it's hanging below knees. The only musician I know who can get away with playing a guitar or bass strapped that low is Matt Gentling (ex Archers of Loaf) and that's cause he's a midget.

So it was loud, and very underwhelming (and I woulda had two beers during their set except that beer was $4.50 a pop. $4.50 a drink? You've got to be kidding me....). But they had nothing on the second opener, The Independents.

The Independents play Tripe. Sheer unadulterated bland country pop Tripe. And they had the sheer nerve to come out and call themselves country punk. Hello? They sound like Sawyer Brown and sing about moonlight and roses. To top it off, they all dressed in solid black (some in very short sleeve shirts) with black cowboy hats! And there wasn't one visible tattoo. Country punk, my white butt. All I'm saying is Patterson Hood would kick their ass. Hell, if I could get to them, I'd kick their ass.

O.K., so after this debacle (how do you pronounce debacle? I've never been sure after seeing Trekkies...), it would take an amazing performance to wipe out the memory of those openers. And DNC put on a good solid show. However, it's hard for me to reconcile Kevn Kinney, rock star and leader of Drivin N Cryin, with Kevn Kinney, guy who drinks at bars and talks about politics. And I'd forgotten how much of their later music just kind of noodles around in that oh-so-popular jam rock style. And, well you can see I wasn't entirely wrapped up in the music, can't you?

I mean, I'm glad I went - the Atlanta post-thanksgiving Drivin n Cryin show is a tradition. And it was nice to be a part of that. But man it seems that somewhere in the last 15 years or so, DNC and I diverged paths. But you could have guessed that, huh?

Anyway, to put it all in Evil Sponge terms - it was probably a 4 sponge show. But you lose a sponge for each opener (hell I almost docked two for The Independents alone), it happens. Hope you're having fun and not freezing your butts off. See ya soon.

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