Friday, February 25, 2011

Concert Review: Pat Green and Wade Bowen, House of Blues, Boston

Hello from rainy Boston, Massachusetts! I had the good fortune to attend last nights' big show at the House of Blues, right across the street from historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Who knew Boston was this close to the Toronto area ... it 's my first time in Boston and certainly won't be my last. Great city and great people.

Anyway, on to the review. Pat Green was a Texas mainstay prior to finding success on a North American level with "Wave on Wave." While he charted several top 40 hits following the initial success of "Wave on Wave", none have managed to reach the success of that top 3 song. His last top 15 single was "Dixie Lullaby", which peaked at number 12. However, someone forgot to tell the 1,000 or so in attendance last night that chart success doesn't matter. Launching in to a string of Texas country-rockin-deep-in-the-south-heartland music, the crowd was rocking with Pat all the way. Such fiery tunes as "Cannonball" and one of his radio tunes "Baby Doll" had the crowd singing along as if they were on stage. With Pat and his very talented band in good spirits, they tore the place up with stunning guitar riffs, strong vocals and great interaction with each other on stage. It is clear that Pat Green and his young charges absolutely love what they do for a living. They're sheer enjoyment of playing "Texas music" and playing before large crowds are what they live for. I would wager to guess that the size of the crowd is irrelevant, I think these guys would rock out in a coffee shop if you gave them the opportunity.

One of the highlights of Pat's set was having Wade Bowen join him on stage for a performance of the top 40 hit "Don't Break My Heart Again." I have always been a fan of that song and it still escapes me to this day that it wasn't a bigger hit than it was. However, one thing I learned last night was that the song was a co-write between Pat Green and none other than Wade Bowen. Although, as Pat described that particular writing session last night "Really, I was all f**ked up, Wade just told me what to write and I wrote it down." It's a great song and it was a great performance from the guys, as I mentioned, one of the highlights of the night.

As mentioned, opening the show last night was another Texas singer-songwriter, Wade Bowen. I've written about Wade Bowen in this space before, as he opened up for Cross Canadian Ragweed at their final performance in Chicago last October. Wade has been on the road in Texas and beyond for 13 years now, and seems to finally be getting some traction beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. He's a solid performer and a strong writer. He too, has a solid, very talented band backing him up. Playing his brand of Texas country, the appreciative crowd was soon singing along to Bowen mainstay's "Trouble" and "Matches", the latter of which went to number 1 on the Texas music chart. Two highlights from Wade's set were the melancholy "Mood Ring", which has an entirely different take on the popular novelty, as well as his more than adequate cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." Soon after this performance, Wade closed his set and made way for the evening's headliner, Pat Green. The only downside to Wade's show may not even be in his control. At this show and the Ragweed show, I found it difficult to hear Wade's vocals. I could hear him, but it was a struggle at times as I found his microphone was overpowered by the guitars. Having said that, it's a minor inconvenience. This guy is a talented singer-songwriter. He is the real deal.

The overall energy in the room last night was bright, frenetic and contagious both on stage and off. Perhaps it's the fact that today is Texas Independence Day, and playing the night before was the beginning of one huge party. Perhaps it's the fact that these guys all love what they're doing and thank the Lord every day that performing for the people is was they get to do for a living. Perhaps it's both. One thing is for sure though, if you're reading this in the metro New York City area today, do your best to get to Terminal 5 in Manhattan tonight, as they hold their 3rd Annual Texas Independence Day Celebration, with Pat Green, Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram and others. If tonights show is anything like last nights, it will be one helluva good time.

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