Nights like this go to show you that you never know what you’re going to get until you see what it is you’re going to get. Believe me, if you read that line enough, it will make sense.
I learned this lesson when I got the Continental Club to see Bare, Jr. I was expecting the same show I saw in August, but was definitely given something different. Since I had last seen the band, Tracy Hackney had bailed to become an insurance salesman, also, guitarist and bassist, Keith and Dean (respectively) had also left the band. The latter two were replaced, but Tracy and the dulcimer were gone. This took away from the band’s schtick, which ended up being a positive in the end.
The night opened with Bobby coming out and playing all alone. A similar setup would occupy the middle of the set as Bobby and Teel would play a short acoustic set in order to play some of Bare, Jr’s best songs, as well as some of Bobby’s new songs he had written for an upcoming solo release.
As the first song came to an end, the rest of the band took the stage and the rock began. Bobby spent a lot more time on electric and Teel did a good job of hitting the leads. Honestly, this new stripped down look did wonders for the band. It gave it a different sound, definitely more rock, but it was less polished. This may have had to do with the short time the current line-up had been playing together, but it was definitely something fun to experience.
The set consisted of songs from both records, which was surprising considering the band hadn’t learned a great deal of songs at this point. The first half of the set rocked, consisting of ‘Love-less,’ ‘God,’ ‘If You Choose Me,’ and others. The band definitely knew the songs well enough to put some flair into the music. In a way, it renewed the excitement in the songs since they were now taking on a new life.
Despite the crowd numbers being small, (Rainy Wednesday night in December) those who were there had no problem yelling at the band and getting involved. It was a mutual relationship as Bobby heckled the crowd early by saying ‘If I wanted to play somewhere quiet, I’d have stayed in Nashville.’
As ‘Kiss Me’ came to a close, the band left the stage except for Bobby and Teel, who were preparing to play a short set of acoustic songs for everyone to relax to. They began with ‘Patty McBride’ from Boo-tay. These songs were a lot of fun and saw Bare, Jr. take on a more country feel. There were even some new songs in the set. ‘Be Around’ was the first one to be played. Teel played a mandolin for the song, which gave it a very vintage sound. This small set showcased the new material well. ‘Tobacco Spit’ and another new song ‘Dig’ saw the acoustic part of the set come to an end. It was a nice touch that allowed for more time and gave everyone a chance to relax and listen to the songs.
It didn’t take long for the band to get right back into the rock though. The first song everyone went into was ‘Why Do I Need A Job?’ which is one of Bare, Jr’s best songs to date. You can’t help but be amused at the lyrics of this song. This led directly into ‘You Blew Me Off,’ which was a staple broken heart tale. The set trudged on into an acapella version of the Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated.’ As much as they hated to do it, Bare, Jr. winded the set down with the Cars’ ‘Best Friend’s Girlfriend,’ which as Bobby put it, ‘This has to be the last song because we don’t know anymore.’ Sometimes you miss some things going to the initial track run of a new line-up, but in the end, it’s always fun to see.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.