Trigger Hippy | 02.07.09 | Georgia
Trigger Hippy :: 02.07.09 :: Cox Capitol Theatre :: Macon, GA
A breath of fresh air blew into Macon, Georgia’s fan-friendly Cox Capitol Theatre last Saturday night with the debut of Trigger Hippy, a combo that melded the jazzy, psychedelic Southern rock of Widespread Panic and The Black Crowes with a dash of boogie woogie courtesy of bassist-singer Nick Govrik. Propelled by the brilliant guitar work of Jimmy Herring (WSP) and Audley Freed and the in-the-pocket grooves of drummer Steve Gorman (Crowes), the band organically grew enough face-melting moments amidst a curious selection of cover material to sprout hopes that this “down-time” project pulls the trigger and collaborates in the future.
Another unforeseen and unexpected bonus arrived with the unannounced opening act Genetic Drift, a youthful trio featuring guitarist Nick Johnson, drummer Duane Trucks (Derek’s little brother) and bassist Kevin Scott. Playing an all-instrumental set of mostly covers with a few originals, the group, which has a weekly Tuesday night gig at The Five Spot in Atlanta, displayed considerable talent – Johnson simply shreds with a Steve Kimock-esque flair – and the band plays with enough requisite chemistry that they seem destined for larger stages soon. A cover of Frank Zappa’s “Peaches en Regalia” was a highlight.
It took just a few minutes into the opening tune – a spacey, slow instrumental that seemed to crest along a blissful apex for nearly 10 minutes – to understand why Herring and Gorman would be so drawn to one another’s playing. Gorman kept perfect time and held down an ideal groove for Herring’s mastery, somehow keeping the guitar Jedi in a slow, deliberate-but-unrestrained tone that cast an unassuming backlight to the rest of the players. Such a style is a far cry from what critics of his playing with Panic (yes, there are folks brash and spoiled enough to do so) describe as a rapid-fire machine gun that is too fast for WSP’s sound. Of course, there were moments when Herring sprang free to spin some searing solos to delight the crowd and seemingly stun his Trigger Hippy bandmates.
While it was entertaining to see the band have fun playing up-tempo, danceable covers, when they teased, just for a few moments, Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” with a fierce, brutal intensity well-suited for it, one couldn’t help but ponder the possibilities of other cover choices more closely matching the hard-hitting styles of WSP and the Crowes. As in: What would have happened if the pick of destiny had led them to monster out and just destroy a set of Zeppelin, Sabbath and the like? Would Macon have survived?
Their propensity for brilliant work in classic rock covers surfaced in an outstanding encore featuring friend Kevn Kinney, who lent inspired vocals and acoustic guitar to Neil Young’s “Keep On Rockin’ in the Free World,” which slowed down into the poetry of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” before the group went back into “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” that was a full-on frenzy by its conclusion.
In their first outing, Trigger Hippy helped a worthy cause celebrating their peers in the Allman Brothers, paid tribute to other legends and forged a small bit of their own. Will they play again? Who knows. For with this group, thankfully there are no expectations.
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