Artists: Drag the River (Official, Facebook, MySpace, BandCamp, Last.fm, AllMusic, Wikipedia), Austin Lucas (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, ReverbNation, Last.fm, AllMusic, Wikipedia), Samantha Crain (Official, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, MySpace, Last.fm, Wikipedia)
Date: January 10, 2015
Last Saturday night was the inaugural edition of the Southern Sound Concert Series at the Will Rogers Theater with Drag the River, Austin Lucas, and Oklahoma’s own Samantha Crain. This was my first trip to the Will Rogers in well over 15 years and man has it changed. The venue is incredibly nice with an upscale bar and restaurant and the theater room itself is immaculate with fantastic acoustics and not a bad seat in the house.
Samantha Crain opened the show with a set of stirring songs driven by her powerful and haunting voice. I was somewhat familiar with Crain’s work having reviewed her most recent album, but one truly can’t appreciate the brilliance of her voice until hearing it live. Needless to say, I am now a fan and anxiously await her new album. Austin Lucas was up next. The alt country singer-songwriter took to the stage with his acoustic guitar and belted out songs from his entire catalog, including the rousing set ending “Alone in Memphis.” What impressed me most with Lucas’ set was his guitar playing; I hadn’t realized just how good he is on the six-string. The night ended with Colorado’s Drag the River taking the stage and belting out songs that covered the gambit of their 15+ year career. On this night the band consisted solely of singers/guitarists Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price, sporting an electric and acoustic guitar respectively, trading off songs, and taking requests from the audience. Their set included classics like “Beautiful & Damned,” “Me & Joe Drove Out to California,” “Calloused Heart # 2,” and “Brookfield” (one of my own requests). Drag the River is simply fantastic. Snodgrass and Price have a perfect chemistry together that is evident through their seamless performances and watching them perform is a joy to behold.
One of the more interesting parts of the night was the crowd. Both Drag the River and Austin Lucas have their roots in the punk scene and thus often play punk venues with punk bands (the first time I saw Drag the River was at The Conservatory, a venue known for hosting punk rock shows) but a lot of the audience for this show appeared to be the kind of folks that you would find at some high-end art exhibits or hoity-toity restaurants. This isn’t meant as an insult, just a description. Eventually I ran into some old friends and we all expressed the same sentiment, that the crowd was weird. Hopefully they all had a great time though and plan on coming out to the next in the Southern Sound Concert Series in March because this series is one that deserves support and I hope succeeds.