Concert Review: Drive-By Truckers @ The Egg, 05/08/2023

Drive-By Truckers played a dark and brooding 2-hour set at The Egg Monday night.

The Athens, Georgia band has been active since 1996 and are still led by co-founders Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, both handling guitar and lead vocal duties.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Their voices are markedly different, offering a contrast within the band’s grungy swirling mix of alt-country and Southern rock. Cooley “talk-sings” with a drawl, somewhat reminiscent of a twangier Tom Petty. Hood is more emotive, with a keening Neil Young-like fragile upper register, a high lonesome sound that can transform into a full-throated punky growl.

Not being overly familiar with their material, I was looking forward to hearing their critically acclaimed, literate and politically charged lyrics. Unfortunately, most of their wordplay was lost in the swampy mix and the vocalist’s tendency, Cooley in particular, to throw them away with a somewhat diffident approach, seemingly concentrating on guitar. Their song titles alone offer a tantalizing glimpse of their prowess in this area. Who couldn’t love a song called “Every Single Storied Flameout?” But that story, along with others, was buried in the racket.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Many songs were elongated by jams which often failed to create sparks, many just repeating the simple riffs over and over whilst Hood and Cooley soloed above the squall. Second guitarist and keyboard player Jay Gonzalez did offer some light amidst the shade, contributing some fine Stonesy-like guitar breaks (Think Mick Taylor circa late ’60s), but this was mostly a dense and repetitive wall of sound. They were not helped by the somewhat unadventurous rhythm section of Matt Patton on bass and drummer Brad “EZB” Morgan, who never really stepped out of their comfort zone, keeping the beat with a minimum of either heft or swing. The contrast with the quicksilver jamming skills of Little Feat at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall a couple of weeks back was evident to this writer. 

The hardcore fans present in a fair-sized crowd did not seem to share my misgivings; however, familiar with the songs, they whooped and hollered their appreciation.

Photo by Rudy Lu

Just before the last song, Hood went into a passionate rant about the recent tragedies in Texas, leaving no doubt where his sympathies lie and where his anger was focused. The band then closed with the mournful “Angels and Fuselage” from their “Southern Rock Opera” double album, a concept piece about the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash. The band played the melancholy coda, leaving the stage one by one, until only Gonzales remained, his piano chords drifting into the night.

A downbeat end to a downbeat evening.


  • Carl Perkin’s Cadillac
  • The New OK
  • Surrender Under Protest
  • The Opening Act
  • Women Without Whiskey
  • The Driver
  • A Ghost to Most
  • Pauline Hawkins
  • Sounds Better in the Song
  • Wilder Days
  • Every Single Storied Flameout
  • Puttin’ People on the Moon
  • Gravity’s Gone
  • Heathens
  • Marry Me
  • Buttholeville
  • State Trooper
  • Made Up English Oceans
  • Angels and Fuselage
  • (No encore)
  1. Tyler says

    Your opinion sucks. But You’re entitled to it.

  2. Art A. says

    This was perhaps the laziest review I’ve read in a good long while. Perhaps 15-minute of prep time…I dunno…like glancing at lyrics…would have served you better.

  3. Sim Morrell says

    Judging from the reactions of the people around me, I thought I was the only one a bit underwhelmed by the performance. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one.

  4. dave says


  5. Kim says

    If you had bothered to do a little prep work, you’d know that being “walls of noise and sound” is their trademark. It’s even in the lyrics of one of their songs. I guess you have to be a devoted fan to get the full picture. And I guess that their downbeat sound is what helps them sell out shows in NYC, Asheville, Atlanta, DC, and create a fan base nationwide. Such a mediocre band, I don’t know how you managed to stay through their two and a half hour show.

  6. Tim says

    I’ve seen DBT several times over the past 20 years and the setlist could have been much better. Songs like The Living Bubba, Zip City, and Let There Be Rock are absolute crowd-pleasers and look to have been left out for newer songs. I think every time I’ve seen them the show closed with a scorcher, for example: Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died”. As much as I enjoy their music and shows, I’d have been dissapointed with this set.

  7. Rob says

    I wasn’t there, so yeah, maybe it wasn’t great. We’ll have to take your word for it, somebody who doesn’t know anything about the band or their music.

    It’s too bad there isn’t some kind of magic box we could carry around in our pockets that gave us access to pretty much every song in the universe. Then we could actually listen to bands before writing reviews about them. That would be so great.

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