This was a double bill I couldn’t resist. Not only are the Deadstring Brothers a fine band, but the opening act was Matt Mays and el Torpedo, a great roots-rock band from Nova Scotia who (to my knowledge) have never played in Chicago before. I’ve missed them every year at SXSW, but then I was blown away by the intensity of the performance they gave of the song “Cocaine Cowgirl” Dec. 15, 2006, on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” (How on earth did they land that gig?) Their album has been awfully hard to find in the U.S., and I ordered a copy in 2005 through amazon.ca, the Canadian version of amazon.
The turnout was a little light, which was to be expected for a Monday-night concert at Schubas with little or no publicity, but crowd got a little bigger as the music started, until there was a repsectable-sized crowd… but lots of space for more people. Matt Mays and his band (including a new guitarist) put in a good performance, though they didn’t quite catch fire like they did on “Conan.” The songs tended to be somewhat long, with a fair amount of jamming, which was OK with me.
The Deadstring Brothers played a short set (short because of it being a Monday night with a half-full room?) but it was pretty darn enjoyable. The songs from last year’s album sounded great, and the band threw in a few new songs that’ll be on a Bloodshot album this fall. The Deadstring Brothers are a bit too slavish in their imitation of Exile-era Stones, but if you’re going to copy a sound, that’s not a bad sound to copy. Plus, there’s plenty of the Band and Dylan mixed in, too.