Little Rock Scene
All The Way Down 07/13/2008
Most people's first experience seeing Jeff Coleman and the Feeders may be the band opening for groups like Cracker, Sonvolt, Old 97's, Candlebox, Big Head Todd, Jack Ingram, Marty Stuart, Ian Moore and Pat Green. My first experience involved a 55 year old bald-headed, overweight, giant of a man suffering from major heat stroke at Riverfest's Triple-S Alarm stage back in '07. Jeff Coleman and the Feeders were about halfway through the set when my buddy pointed out the guy sitting by himself, beet-red on a bench on the north side of the stage. Now normally a guy suffering through some intense heat-stroke would not be amusing but Jeff Coleman was right in the middle of the song, Pterodactyl. With every Cah! Cah! Cah! Pterodactyl!!! of the song the guy seemed to be getting worse and worse. Nobody else seemed to be noticing the intense irony of what was happening on-stage versus the guy completely out of it off to to the side. We were about to search around for some medical help when the guy finally started to calm down. One of his female friends came up and got him on his feet.
Now I don't know if it was just the intense energy of the infamous Pterodactyl song or the 95 degree Arkansas summer but it was no coincidence that the guy finally started to come out of it after the song was over. While Pterodactyl at Sticky Fingerz Saturday night didn't live up to the same never-forgotten incident at Riverfest, the song still rocked. Maestro again went nuts with the lighting and made head banging Jeff Coleman look almost like Angus Young of ACDC. Clearly the most distortion drenched song in Jeff Coleman's arsenal of two album's worth of songs, the song was a great end cap to two hours worth of great alternative country, Southern Rock inspired mayhem.
"I'll Never Write Another Song Again" sounded awesome in the first half of the set. With lyrics like "inspiration drier than an Arizona wind" one must wonder how Jeff Coleman conjured up the last two thirds of his "AmericanB" album, independently released a year ago. Oddly enough the next song he wrote was "Running Through Mexico", one of the better of many awesome songs on his new album. Coleman's songwriting is filled with lyrics about the traditional folklore of the modern Southwest and with great songs like "Tango", "Nena Bonita", "Running Through Mexico" and "Gringo" one must wonder if Jeff spent some time down there himself. Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro! and the band ripped into "Where Are All The Americans", an almost Social Distortion-esque song about traveling through Southern California and not finding any "Americans".
Riverfest was not the last time I saw Jeff Coleman take the stage. I have seen him play in Little Rock as a special guest with the Good Time Ramblers twice in the past two weeks. Given the go-ahead with "All The Whisky In Texas" and backed by GTR's solid backing, Jeff Coleman has become an integral part in any of GTR's energy driven sets. Both bands are good friends and seem to swap talent whenever given the chance. Alex Piazza of GTR took the stage this time for a couple songs in the middle part of the second set. The band basically gave him the song and the key and Alex did what he does best.
Jeff Coleman's '72 style Tele and Mark Chiaro's Les Paul are meant to be played LOUD. The new album AmericanB is probably best listened to at 2am on the way back out of Juarez doing about 95mph down Interstate 30 headed towards middle-of-nowhere Texas. There is not a bad song on the album and whatever producer they had did a great job of capturing their live energy in the studio. If you strip back all the shredding guitars, Jerry Codova's thumping bass and Stan James' driving percussion you will find some absolutely phenomenal song-writing. I just bought their cd about two hours ago and I am already in my second passing through. I can only hope the band gets more of their first album, "Done To Death" in print for their next outing in Little Rock. Check them out on their Myspace page and definitely check them out the next time they are playing in town.