Words by: Andrew Bruss | Images by: Amanda Ryan Albion
The Whigs :: 03.22.08 :: Paradise Rock Club :: Boston, MA
It's pretty rare for an opening act to kick ass hard enough to earn their way into the main focus of a review, but that's just what The Whigs did when they came to Boston to support the Drive-By Truckers. They gave the Paradise a distorted set of fuzzed-out riff-rock that won over the sold out crowd of Truckers fans in no time flat, a feat in itself.
"What's amazing about the Truckers' fan base is that they're just ready for some music and to get down and party. They want rock! And that's amazing because you can't always guarantee that the crowd is ready to raise some hell like these people do. It's been really fun to play for them," said Whigs bassist Tim Deaux.
The trio from Athens, Georgia took the stage in t-shirts and jeans, barely distinguishable from the audience, and tore into a note-for-note onslaught of their new album Mission Control's opening track, "Like A Vibration." The tune featured the top-notch howl of Parker Gispert (vocals, guitar), whose disgruntled pipes bring to mind Kurt Cobain and the late Layne Staley (Alice In Chains).
They followed with a run through "Production City" that was reminiscent of the funky, punk rock swagger of The Clash. Deaux's basslines carried the street punk-meets-reggae quality that made Paul Simonon a legend, while the beat keeping of drummer Julian Dorio utilized the heavy-hitting approach of John Bonham and the powerful fills of Dave Grohl. Given this type of name-dropping, it's hard to say that these guys have a sound that's all that original. Then again, there's nothing wrong with taking a killer sound and rolling with it. Kurt Cobain was known to have joked that Nevermind was his attempt at imitating The Pixies, and John Lennon said that, "It's not who you rip off, but how."
By no means should this be seen as an endorsement of The Whigs being the next Nirvana or Beatles, or the next anything for that matter. The Whigs make no attempt to come off as anything other than what they are: a kick ass rock band. Their music makes obvious what their influences are and their connection to those roots plays a significant part in their appeal. Their no-gimmicks brand of straight-up rock quickly earned the admiration of a room full of Drive-By Truckers fans and the odds are they'll win over anyone with a love for distorted guitar and heavy drums.
For those Truckers fans who feel slighted, be sure to check out our review from earlier in the tour HERE...
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