Empty Bottle; Fri 7, Sat 8 (early shows)
Patterson Hood is a born storyteller and an excellent songwriter, which is why many assume he’s the leader of the Drive-By Truckers rather than a coleader (with equally excellent songwriter Mike Cooley). In fact, one of the pleasures of seeing the band live is watching the give-and-take between two very different singers as they trade turns tapping their surprisingly deep supply of veritable country-rock classics (even if most of the world still hasn’t quite caught on).
Hood solo is a slightly different creature, especially if all you know of him is his Killers and Stars, recorded in a fit of productivity and frustration, and not really indicative of his assets. The upcoming Murdering Oscar sounds more promising, but Hood’s sophomore solo disc is in release limbo. No matter. He regularly plays unreleased songs—solo and Truckers alike—during his sets, and it’s alone onstage where his storyteller side comes out to shine.
Free from the constraints of a typical Truckers set (where even three hours isn’t always enough to get out all the rock), Hood gets to talk till he’s hoarse, if he wants, and play whatever the hell he feels like. Not that the Truckers in any way constrain him: The group’s upcoming Brighter Than Creation’s Dark is 19 songs long and its most diverse—and best—offering. But solo Hood gets to relax and relish the good vibes of a loose night out, where everyone’s friends and anything goes.