Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
isappointment could have been the operative word for those entering the club. After all, a two-fer from two veteran, respected Texas acts sharing the bill - Randy Rogers Band and Josh Abbott Band - was not going to happen after all.
Abbott and company bowed out because Abbott's father suffered a debilitating stroke three weeks prior, and he needed to head home.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Rogers and his group easily stoked the fires for Texas country music in a well-conceived and well-delivered show.
Rogers follows in the line of Texas country artists like Pat Green, amping it up a bit musically, though an easy going personality, who had the sense to rely on his material.
For Rogers, that meant having a bucketload of songs that had crackle and crunch to them ranging from the opening "This Time Around" to "Standards" to the funky-infused "Fuzzy" to the meat-and-potatoes anthemic closer, "Taking It As It Comes," which Jerry Jeff Walker recorded three decades ago.
Backing Rogers was a most spirited band, particularly animated fiddle man Brady Black. Drummer Les Lawless typically set a fast pace to the songs with a more of a rock bent.
They set the stage from the get go for a show that raced out of the gate with not much let up for the rest of the evening. Yes, Rogers and company had some quieter moments where the vocals took center stage (the new single "Tequila Eyes"), more of a welcome change in direction before returning to the faster, harder, charging material. Rogers got into the groove real fast and didn't stray.
Rogers is not the type of performer steeped in flash. Instead, he's relied on songs, musicianship and figuring out what goes into a night of good music. It may have been half of an expected show, but the Randy Rogers Band more than made up for Abbott's absence.
William Clark Green got the ball rolling with a sturdy solo acoustic set. Green may not be so well known outside of his home state of Texas, but given the number of Texans in the crowd (let's just say a lot of the approximate 500 who were there), he must have felt quite at home.
As he said near the close, he was quite appreciative of people singing his songs back to him.
Green has a bit of a sandpapery voice, more so than Rogers, and like the headliner, he benefits from worthy songs ("Next Big Thing," Sticks & Stones"). While his best-known song may have been "She Likes the Beatles," which he closed with, there's a lot more to Green than that. Like grit, an easy-going style and stage presence as well.
Yes, it would have been nice to have a full bill, but Green and Rogers did more than enough to overcome anyone's disappointment.