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I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House Cook Dante’s in Reunion

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House Cook Dante’s in Reunion

[Editor's Note: The below live "review" is most likely addled with hyperbole due to the author's unbridled passion for the subject of said "review."]

It’s probably a good thing I had been looking forward to last Friday’s reunion performance for country-punk rock pillagers I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House for nearly three months. Countless hours were spent listening to their 2006 live album, Live at Dante’s - with its impending trail of dirty allegory and largely armchair-leftist musings vocalized up front by singer/guitarist Mike D’s greeting “How the fuck y’all doin’ tonight?” The palpable measures of excitement were all in place. The bar would be open. The band would be there. The instruments and PA would work, and they would use them to parlay their ruckus.

What I forgot was how goddamn popular this band is.

Before they were even a glimmer in the collective booze-soaked macula of the audience at Dante's March 5th, SOB had already commanded a fever-pitch of some parts nostalgia, some parts anticipation, some parts anxiety. Would they be as good as they were? Of course they would be. It’s not as if the band had severed ties with society altogether, punishing their instruments into isolated time-outs in the corners of their basement. But there were a shit-ton of people there to find out first hand anyway.

Mike D has performed consistently in varying incarnations (solo as Michael Dean Damron, as well as with Mike D and Thee Loyal Bastards), all beginning and ending with his no-holds-barred lyricism and Southern-speckled, neat Jack Daniels gruff. Throw in the energy and obvious onstage camaraderie of guitarist Handsome Jon, bassist Mole Harris, drummer Flapjack Texas, and harmonica-genie David Lipkind, and the evening’s dense brood of patrons was only more understandable.

Coincidentally, the band kicked the evening off with the opener from Live, “Gone,” a rock ‘n’ rollin’ blues revue that showcases pretty much all the facets of SOB’s arsenal, including D’s willingness to cross the threshold into outright pissiness (a blurry, shaky, feedback-bedecked video is available here of the first moments of the show...eerily the amateurishness of the footage sums up the ambiance of the show better than were it stationed center-back and filtered through the sound board). “Westboro Baptist Church” resonated just as angrily as it did on 2004’s Menace with a spirited sing-along and plenty of raised fists…which translated into lots of spilt beer.

Lots of things happen at live shows; and it’s rarely interesting to read the details of them – that frail marrow of fact, set list, vibe, smell. In testament to that, I stopped taking notes at a certain point, and decided to hash out what it was that people wanted to see so badly, in such numbers, on this night.

I think it had nothing to do with which songs they would play; whether or not the convergence of bull-riding dive bar owners, rockabilly-slick Dry County Crooks fans, and Joan Jett retro-lite revivalists on hand to see Kleveland would get along; or even whether Handsome Jon would use a Budweiser bottle as a slide (he did). I think people wanted to remind themselves that the things that make you happy, once absent, are not gone forever.

The proof was right in front of us, if only for one night.

- Ryan J. Prado

Published: March 08, 2010 |

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