Rock Gods, Batman & The Big Apple.

Drivin n Cryin at The Mercury Lounge NYC

August 13, 2011

by Todd Shelton for The Backstage Beat

While Drivin N Cryin’s reputation as rock gods may never have crossed the Mason-Dixon line, the crowd that packed into the Mercury Lounge on Saturday night showed a reverence rarely exhibited by a crowd in the band’s hometown of Atlanta.  Fans danced, fist-pumped, and gave the ultimate rock n roll symbol of approval—devil horns—as they sang along to nearly every song the band played.  And despite being fueled by alcohol, adrenalin and hard rock, the room fell silent when Kevn Kinney brought out his acoustic guitar to play ‘A Good Country Mile,’ ‘Wishes’ and ‘Let’s Go Dancing.’  Thanks for respecting the music, New York.

Sadler Vaden of Charleston, SC-based band, Leslie, joined Kinney, Tim Nielsen and Dave V. Johnson on this leg of their tour and immediately drew the entire crowd into his sea of hair, Joe Cocker sideburns and monster solos.  Outfitted in a fresh-from-Chinatown shirt proclaiming “Fuck You, I’m Batman,” Vaden impressed fans with his ability to coax everything from Jimmy Page-esque electric blues to Waylon Jennings-style chicken pickin’ out of his Gibson SG.  Bolstered by the formidable rhythm section of Johnson and Nielsen, Kinney put his own guitar chops on display in fuzz-heavy versions of ‘Ain’t Waitin

g On Tomorrow’ and ‘Blues On Top of Blues.’  The evening’s setlist included selections from the band’s entire catalog, spanning from 1985’s Scarred But Smarter to 2009’s (Whatever Happened To) The Great American Bubble Factory, and I was particularly happy to for the inclusion of ‘Light’ from 1995’s (unfortunately overlooked) release, Wrapped In Sky.  The band was relaxed and smiling on stage, and delivered a performance that will certainly have concertgoers anxiously awaiting drivin n cryin’s return to The Big Apple.

Strutting the stage in a shimmery dress that would make Grace Potter jealous, local performer Meah Pace started the evening off with her brand of classic soul and R&B.  While the room was not nearly full, Meah and her band put on a fantastic performance for those who arrived early enough for her set.  With a couple lineup changes and a few

more original songs to her credit, I believe that we’ll be seeing Meah Pace on a much larger stage in the near future.  For the time being, however, you can see her perform every Wednesday night at The National Underground (159 E. Houston St.).