How to describe the Hank Williams III show last night at Fat Tuesdays....
Well, it began like this. His guitar tech wrote a few songs and performed them to open the show. (According to him, it was only the second time he'd every performed them.) He had a Steve Earle vibe, and he was fun to listen to. He wrote story songs about booze and God, and it was pretty good.
Then the Wayward Drifters played.
They were a little more traditional good-time, honky-tonk country, and they got the crowd going with the call-and-response of the song "F*** You, and Anyone Who Looks Like You." I looked for their CD at the show, but to no avail.
At about 9, Hank came out and played some of the twangiest outlaw country around. He sang his songs about drinking, drugs, women and his hatred of the current state of Nashville and country radio. It was good, old-time country, with a lot of swear words mixed in.
That's Hank on the right. At left is the bass player, Joe Buck, and he will give me nightmares for weeks. He had a crazed look in his eye, and he would get so into the music he would shout out expletives, often suggesting that I am a person who does gross things with my mom.
So, the night was fun and loud, but then it got weird. After his country set, he took a five minute break. During the break, Hank took out his pony tail, put on a rebel flag hat and traded his acoustic guitar for a Gibson SG. It got loud, but it was still country...sort of. His fiddle player was still playing with him, at least.
Then, it got weirder still. Hank took off the hat, changed into a Misfits T-shirt and let his punk flag fly. He was no longer Hank III. He was now a member of the punk band Assjack.
They played an ear-splittingly fast set. The lead "singer," Gary Lindsey (left), yelled, howled, screeched, and banged his bloody head on the microphone. The punksters and the tattooed love boys banged their heads, and the mosh pit began percolating (though by mosh pit standards it was pretty tame--no fights, no bloody noses, and only one guy fell down and couldn't get up, but he was so drunk he was walking like gravity was playing a trick on him.)
So, over two hours after Hank began, he finished, sweaty and spent. I can't believe he does this every night. It was a high-energy show, and I still can't figure out exactly what to think. So, if like some bizarre postmodern analogue of Donny and Marie, you like a little bit country and a little bit death punk, go see Hank next time he comes. Or if you just like country, stay until the cowboy hat comes off.