The passion and swagger of Southern rock came to Long Island as Drive-By Truckers took the stage for a Saturday night show in Huntington. Energized by the success of their latest album English Oceans, the band performed an extended set that featured a heady mix of new material and old favorites.
Throughout the evening, there was a striking contrast between frontmen Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. Hood, who often leaped into the air mid-song, overflowed with emotion as he performed signature tunes like “Box of Spiders” and “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy.” On the opposite end of the stage, straight man Mike Cooley was a study in detached cool. From the moment he strapped on his black Flying V and launched into the hard bitten lyrics of “Birthday Boy,” Cooley’s mellow, sardonic attitude oozed from every pore.
An encore set found the Truckers sharing the stage with opening band The Hold Steady. After roaring through a lightning fast rendition of Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died,” the two bands launched into a soaring performance of “Grand Canyon.” One of the strongest tracks from English Oceans, the heartfelt ballad took on a new life as it was played for the audience. When the musician’s finally left the stage after midnight, the crowd was left exhausted but grinning ear to ear.
– Jon Kleinman