The Drive-By Truckers bio heralding their new A Blessing and a Curse (New West) suggests that one such blessing-slash-curse they've had to shoulder is the mantle of Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World, thrust upon them from time to time not just by their rabid fans but by people in my dubious profession. Well, yes--with great power comes great responsibility, y'all. The songwriting on the new album doesn't always hit the bull's-eye, but that's a quibble when a band's got a catalog as deep as the Truckers'. And anyway, even if you earn a championship title with your albums, it's onstage that you defend it, and these folks have been taking southern rock back to church with sweat-drenched three-hour live shows for at least five years now. Like the E Street Band or the Stones, two other bands who've justifiably worn that heavy belt buckle, the Truckers know how to pace their sets for maximum impact: when to play a crowd-pleaser and when to play a personal manifesto, when to roll around on the floor and when to get up on the soapbox, when to let everyone take a breather and when to keep rocking through the pain. Last time the Stones came through town, ticket prices topped out close to $500; I can't see anything that's over so quick being worth that kind of money, be it a fancy dinner or a roll in the hay with a high-class prostitute. That said, the Truckers have three killer songwriters who double as killer guitarists, plus an equally killer rhythm section--I'd be happier forking over a week's pay to see them than I would to see any band that's got the nerve to actually ask for that much. American Minor opens. Fri 5/19, 8 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $18.50, 18+.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Frank Swider.