Live Review – Mike and The Moonpies In Macon, GA

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Jan 292020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Photography By Joshua Wallace

I was able to see Mike and The Moonpies live in Macon, GA on January 25th, 2020 which was a Saturday night.  This concert was at The Creek Stage at The Rookery which is a restaurant in Macon. They convert a dining room into a concert hall when they have concerts scheduled.  It’s a very intimate venue and a very unique setting. I hope to go back to The Rookery sometime soon to eat as it looked like a very good restaurant. I arrived at 09:30pm on a Saturday night and it was packed.  You can’t say that about many places these days. This show was actually billed as the after party for a show that was happening at the Hargray Capitol Theater which is down the street from The Rookery. That show was Robert Earl Keen with Aubrie Sellers as the opening act.  I was only here for Mike and The Moonpies though and they got things kicked off at 10:45 pm with no opener. The small room filled out pretty quickly. The Moonpies put on a great show as they always do. This band gets better every time I see them.

The band kicked things off with “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” and “Damn Strait”, the latter of which is my favorite track off The Hard Way album and is always fun to hear live.  When the band got into “Getting High At Home” and “Steak Night At The Prairie Rose”, you could tell this would be a fun crowd as they were singing along with both songs. In fact, this crowd favored pretty much everything from Steak Night At The Prairie Rose and the new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold.  The band still played through the older stuff and I especially loved hearing “El Camino” from their The Real Country album. We got a great Merle Haggard cover with “Working Man Blues” before the band got into material from the new record.  

I was happy to hear “Young In Love” and “Miss Fortune” live this time.  I feel like those are two underrated tracks from the stellar new album. “You Look Good In Neon” was another hit with the crowd as it turned into a sing-a-long.  This was amazing as the last time I had heard this song live, the record was barely out and no one knew the track. You could say the same for “Danger” too which is another mega popular track from the new album.  “Beaches Of Biloxi” is also always a popular live track with bass player Omar’s seemingly random crowd participation bits. The band then got to the title tracks of both 2012’s The Hard Way and the new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold.  The latter of which was another sing-along with the crowd. From there, they did “London Homesick Blues” and their cover of Fastball’s “The Way”. I used to love that song back in the 90’s and until Mike and The Moonpies did it, I had not heard it in a long time.

The band did a great version of “Bottled Beer” off their first album which concluded with Omar’s tease of the famous bass line from Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.  The fans that know that song always pop for it. They wrapped up the regular set with “We’re Gone” and “The Real Country”. The band played a great closing jam before coming back to the stage for covers of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” and Rusty Weir’s “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance”.

I highly recommend seeing this band live in smaller venues while you have the chance.  I don’t think we will have that opportunity for very long. This band is a very tight live band and they have such a charismatic stage presence that not many have right now.  Omar Oyoque is one of the best bass players you can find in a country band and is a highlight of every show. Mike and The Moonpies are currently playing in Key West, FL as part of Mile 0 Fest.  If you’re in the southeast, your next chance to see them will be at the Standard Deluxe in Waverly, AL for the 20th Anniversary of the “Old 280” Boogie on April 18th. You can find details of that event here and check out the band’s website for more tour information and where you can find out when they are coming near you.

Live Review – Colter Wall with Wade Sapp in Macon, GA

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Dec 112019
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace


Colter Wall and The Scary Prairie Boys

This past Thursday night (12/05/19), I was lucky enough to see Colter Wall at the Hargray Capitol Theater in Macon, GA.  Over the years, this has become one of my favorite venues and I’ve seen acts like Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan and now Colter Wall there.  This was my first time seeing Colter Wall since seeing him at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, FL back in 2017. That place holds about 300 people.  I would say he came close to doubling that number tonight. The floor was packed out fairly well by the time the opening act started and the balcony looked about half full.  The opening act this evening was Wade Sapp who is a country singer out of Atlanta, GA.

Wade Sapp

Wade Sapp hit the stage with a full band which was a surprise as I was expecting an acoustic opening act.  His full band featured a lead guitar player, bass player and drummer. It was a simple set-up, but it worked.  His guitar player Ryan Tolson was awesome and a big compliment to the overall sound.  The rest of the band featured Paul Wagner on drums and Adam Higgins on bass.  Going into this set, the only song that is truly out there is “Keep On Truckin’” which was released as an “OurVinyl Sessions” live version.  Wade played a full eleven song opening set. I’m not sure if this set was the entirety of his debut record coming out next year or not, but it felt like it. Of those eleven songs, only one was a cover. He closed the night with a killer version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs”.  Other highlights include originals such as “SOB”, “Beer Drinking Daddy”, “Smoke” and “Bleeding Blue”. If you go to one of the shows remaining on this run, be sure to go early and see Wade Sapp.


Colter Wall solo acoustic

After Wade Sapp, there was a short wait before Colter Wall took the stage.  He started the show off with a few acoustic songs before the full band joined him. The first song of the night was an old Bob Dylan cover called “Diamond Joe”. He followed that up with one of my favorites from the EP Imaginary Appalacia called “Caroline”.  The great thing about this is the crowd got into it and did some foot stomps in time with the song. You could tell this was going to be a fun night.

I was happy that he kept the acoustic intro to “Thirteen Silver Dollars” as that was one of my favorite parts of his set with the Speedy Creek Band.  From there he did my favorite of the two songs he released on a 7” record earlier this year called “Happy Reunion” by singer/songwriter and cowboy poet Mike Beck.  He also did an extended version of “Motorcycle” with an extra verse written by Blake Berglund. From there he got to the first of several newer songs called “Western Swing and Waltzes”.  This was a great track and I can’t wait to hear a recorded version on the next album. I loved the cover he did of Bob Wills’s “Big Balls In Cowtown”. Later on in the set he also did a cover of my Marty Robbins song off the album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs called “Big Iron”.  I loved hearing this one live and his band did it justice.

Another new track in this set was a song called “Have You Met My Friend” about Sam Colt.  From there he got to one of my personal favorites from his self titled LP called “You Look To Yours”.  At this point he introduced the band which consists of pedal steel, dobro and mandolin player Patrick Lyons, harmonica player Jake Groves, drummer Aaron Goodrich, and bass player Jason Simpson.  I must say this band fully compliments the sound Colter Wall is creating with a sound that can go from upbeat country to western swing to western folk. Following the band introductions they did my favorite track on the “Songs Of The Plains” record called “Thinkin’ On A Woman” which was the second trucking song of the night.  From there he did a cover of the Stan Jones western classic called “Cowpoke”. I love his version of this song and Colter just has a way with these old western tunes that just comes natural.  He also has an amazing yodel that really gets to shine with this performance.


“Kate McCannon”

There was also a great version of one of my favorite Townes Van Zandt songs in “White Freightliner Blues”.  This was followed up by “Plain To See Plainsman” and another obscure cover with Ian Tyson’s “The Coyote and The Cowboy”.  Colter closed out the regular set with possibly his biggest mainstream hit in “Sleepin’ On The Blacktop”. The crowd wasn’t ready to be done though and we got an encore with another new song called “High and Mighty”.  These new songs sound great with the Scary Prairie Boys and I can’t wait to hear them on a record.

This was my first experience with Colter Wall’s new band The Scary Prairie Boys.  It feels like a more versatile set-up than the roots based sound of his original Speedy Creek Band.  This band also fits the current direction of Colter Wall’s sound which is including more elements of western music including western swing and folk.  Colter Wall and Wade Sapp still have a few nights left in this December run through the southeast. You can find all remaining dates at the band’s website.  You can also keep up with Wade Sapp at his website.  I highly recommend checking them out and if you do go to a show, come early for an amazing opening set from Wade Sapp.