Will update with some photos/videos from the concert. Need to find the cord to sync my phone to the computer first.
Went to a Hank III concert last night in London, Ontario and was absolutely, completely, earth-shatteringly blown away by both Hank and The Damn Band...his backing band. For those who don't know, Hank III (or Hank 3) is the grandson of legendary country musician Hank Williams Sr. and son of Hank Williams Jr. (of Monday Night Football fame...yikes!). He's a crazed country rebel and can be found in punk circles, most notably with his punk band AssJack.
I enjoy real country music - older stuff for the most part - but don't really know it all that well. But when my wife first played Hank's Straight to Hell album, I was floored to say the least. It was like a glass of cold water to the face. This was one truly insane individual, singing about how he may have overdosed, wasn't sure where he got those pills he took, and that he was going to put the "$%#@ in Dixie" and I won't say what he was going to put "back in Country" - not to mention all the whiskey he drinks along the way. No joke. However, if you can stomach the topics he covers (I find it pretty hilarious), he really is a terrific songwriter, musician, and performer with a serious respect for music's history.
I went into this concert not quite knowing what to expect. I figured he was going to be some greasy, gross, low-life that looked completely cracked out and unaware of what was going on, barely making it through the show. Umm...more like complete opposite. This guy was sharp, with piercing eyes that flashed intensity and an alertness about him that had everyone leaning forward to bask in his glare. Hank and the band were extremely tight, wasting but a moment between songs - which were played at a feverish, yet precise, pace and sounded even better than they did on his albums. They didn't miss a beat, even when a drunken Hank-wannabe rushed the stage to sing with the rebel himself. Hank dutifully shared the mic until the bewildered bouncers finally did their job.
This was not a show for the faint of heart. Hank held none of his crazed-country rebel persona back and many audience members emulated their sonofabitch hero on stage. But southern hospitality was also in full effect - although energetic and a bit rowdy, the very diverse audience (not in ethnicity but in social backgrounds) respected each other's want of a good time. No one went too far and the focus was definitely pointed towards Hank and the excellent band members.
Speaking of band members, there were two who really stood out. The fantastic banjo player was a picture of poise - eyes focused on a seemingly specific point in the back of the venue; a pristine, white, wide-brimmed cowboy hat was perched perfectly on his head; well-cared for facial hair adorned his jawline; his fingers effortlessly danced across the fret board - this guy was seriously in the zone. My wife swooned for him, desperately attempting to get his attention, but nothing could distract him from his goal of perfection.
The lap steel player was pretty much the coolest person I've ever come in contact with. Anyone who can split their hair into two long braids, wear a fedora and ray ban sunglasses, play the lap steel with ferocity, all at the same time in a punk country-western band - and pull it off - is the ultimate in cool. He looked like a Native American Country-Western Blues Brother. And he did things on the lap steel I didn't know you could do. Awesome.
So, in short, it was an incredible show - way better than I thought it could be. Highly recommended.