The Drive-by Truckers literally rocked the lights out last Friday night at the Rev Room. About four or five songs into the set, all the power to the band’s instruments shut down. The microphones and a few lights were the only thing on stage that had power. Technicians and roadies clamored around behind the stage trying to figure out what went wrong while the band just stood around, not really knowing what to do. And did I mention the AC was out too? You could feel the cool air being sucked out of the room as Mike Cooley, one of the band’s songwriter/guitarists, told the crowd to “just settle down, now.”
The band handled the situation very well though, keeping the increasingly hot/drunk crowd under control. Cooley let everybody know that “something blew the fuck up,” before asking, “All right, who wants to wrestle?”
After a couple of minutes of banter, the Truckers launched into an a cappella version of “Bulldozers and Dirt.” It was one of those live music moments that those in the audience will likely not forget, the crowd and the band singing as one big, harmonizing voice, beer bottles raised.
After a short break, the power came back to the amplifiers — but not the air conditioning — and the band soldiered through a sweat-soaked set including a number of tunes from their new album “The Big To-Do” and other crowd-pleasers like “Where the Devil Don’t Stay.” To say that it was hot in there was an understatement. Everyone wiped sweat from their brow between swigs of beer, but the humid air couldn’t damper their spirits, or the band’s. The Truckers seemed to feed off the heat, rip-roaring through a two and a half hour set that left the crowd drenched, but happy, after seeing one of the better rock shows to come through Little Rock since the last time the band was in town.