When: Fri., Feb. 26, 9 p.m. 2016
When Jon Langford formed the Waco Brothers two decades ago, he considered them his own cozy bar band, a bunch of pals with low expectations regularly playing around town. Over the years some members moved away, while others gave up on trying to make a career in music, but even with both of those factors in mind I’m still surprised that the group’s new Going Down in History (Bloodshot) is their first studio album in a decade. The album title together with the first line from Dean Schlabowske on the opener “DIYBYOB” (“This is the first track from the last album”) and the fact that the narrator on the jaunty “Receiver” is hooked up to a life-support machine suggests the record may be their swan song, but I won’t be shocked if the Wacos are still at it 20 years from now. Some of the songs on Going Down veer away from the group’s typically brash, extroverted twang. There’s steamrolling, fuzzed-out hard rock on “We Know It,” a cover of the early Small Faces nugget “All or Nothing”—on which we learn Schlabowske is no Steve Marriott, let alone Otis Redding—and some straight-up Brit punk complemented by mandolinist Tracey Dear’s snarls on “Had Enough.” But tweaking a sound isn’t that important for a band who pride themselves so much on their no-frills energy and raucousness, of which there remains plenty. The Wacos always make decent records, but it’s live that you can be convinced that they’re one of the best rock bands on the planet.