Live Review: Son Volt

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Son Volt

Neighborhood Theatre

Feb. 19, 2009

By Rhiannon Bowman

The Deal: Son Volt, an alternative country band formed by Jay Farrar in 1994 after Uncle Tupelo's break up, plays The Neighborhood Theater on Feb. 19. See photos of some of those in attendance here.

The Good: I went on a friend's suggestion. He adores the band, so I arrived with high expectations. The way he discusses Son Volt's influence on his life was mirrored in the comments of several other fans. "I first discovered them in 1994," one lady said, "It's because of them that I love music so much today."

It's difficult to argue with that kind of sentiment. I figured, with seven albums and one major recording contract — with Warner Bros. Records (they were dropped after their fourth release) — there must be something about them I hadn't discovered yet.

I started paying closer attention to the lyrics. That's where I found the deep-down honesty and political commentary (listen to "The Picture") I believe resonates with their fans.

The Bad: My first impression of Son Volt was that my grandfather would really dig them. The show started — slow and depressing — with the first several songs sounding similar and Neil Young-ish. A few people in the crowd were doing the head-bob, though one lady, front and center, insisted on dancing and twirling energetically regardless of the beat.

Then, they livened up. By the end of the concert more people were bouncing around, the tunes — like "The Search" — offered more cheerful beats and I started thinking, "This is something I can listen to with my grandpa."

The Verdict: As we left my friend admitted, "I had to listen to most of their CDs a couple of times before I got into them." I think Son Volt might understand. After all, in "The Search" they sing, "Door is open to change your mind."

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