Live: The Supersuckers/Whiskey Boat

The Supersuckers pic #1
(l to r) Eddie Spaghetti & Dan "Thunder" Bolton. Photo by Mel House.

THE CONTINENTAL CLUB -- 11/19/08: I think the last time I caught The Supersuckers live, they were playing with Jesse Dayton (of course) at Fitzgerald's. That was back in my "I'm in a silly punk band" period...which was a while ago (although I was still old enough to know better). At any rate, that was the last time I saw the "Greatest Rock n' Roll Band In the World" on stage, although I've kept up somewhat with their recorded output since.
After years of listening to the 'Suckers, I eventually came to realize that I really liked them -- continuing beyond the "punk band phase" thing. Sacrilicious Sounds of the Supersuckers gets regular play on my iPod, as does Must've Been High (the band's full-on country album). There are a lot of bands from that era of my existence that have CDs gathering dust on the shelf, never to be encoded to AAC format. Lead singer Eddie Spaghetti is also a very outspoken supporter of the West Memphis Three -- which is a cause very near and dear to my heart -- so they garnered even more cool points. With these relatively recent realizations fresh in my mind, as soon as I saw the listing for the Supersuckers two-night gig at The Continental Club, I was stoked.
Unfortunately, I could only manage to make it out to the show on the 19th, but I'm kind of glad about that. My ass got rocked so hard that I'd probably be dead or in a wheelchair if I had gone to both gigs.
Opening act Whiskey Boat was enjoyable enough to watch, although there was nothing about them that truly set my world on fire. The pedal steel player came close, though -- he was pretty damn good. Their drummer wasn't bad, either. Unfortunately, Whiskey Boat's slightly frat-boyish country rock didn't do it for me as a whole. Not that they were bad, or total douchebags, mind you, just not my thing.
Soon after Whiskey Boat wrapped it up, the Supersuckers hit the stage. Having seen them all walking around the club earlier in the evening (and looking slightly older, but not decrepit), I wondered how the last decade would have affected their performance. Not at all, apparently.
The Supersuckers pic #2
Ron "Rontrose" Heathman. Photo by Mel House.

The band began the show by playing songs in order of album release, so The Smoke of Hell, La Mano Cornuda, and Sacrilicious were all represented, after which the band skipped ahead to The Evil Powers of Rock N' Roll-era material. All of it loud, all of it great, all of it taking me back in time to a sweaty, balls-out place populated only by Les Paul Goldtops. Sadly, there were no choreographed guitar moves, but aside from that, I'm relatively certain that the band was rocking harder than I had ever seen them back in the day, and the audience was eating it up. The true discovery of the night was relatively new drummer Scott "Scottzilla" Churilla (who joined the group in 2006) -- he positively killed behind the kit.
After kicking out a few songs from their new album, Get It Together! (which is awesome, by the way), the band played a mini-set of their straight-up country tunes (including "Supersucker Drive-By Blues," crowd favorite "Non-Addictive Marijuana," and a country version of "Doublewide"), proving that they might need to change their title to the "Greatest Rock n' Roll AND Country Band In The World." I've always been impressed by how well the Supersuckers made that transition back and forth. With any other group, it would seem gimmicky and quasi-ironic. The 'Suckers, though, pull it off with honesty, aplomb, gusto, and damn good songs, whether they're rocking or twanging.
After the "country jamboree," it was back to the loud rock, which continued straight through to the end of the show and included the patented "Fake Encore," a Thin Lizzy cover ("Cowboy Song"), and then closed out with "Born With A Tail." The already riled-up crowd went positively batshit over the last two, resulting in several smelly, sweaty, beer-drenched pile-ups. Awesome to the nth degree. You just don't see shows like that anymore. END