Concert Reviews
Recent concerts and great music
Dallas, Texas

Saturday morning, Jibe drummer Ben Jeffries blew out the radiator in his car. Heís not really sure when heís going to have enough time or money to fix it. His first reaction to the bad luck: "These things happen." He decided, "The most important thing is that the [bandís] van still works. If something was wrong with it, Iíd fix that first."

The van was needed later that evening, after Jeffries and his mates took the stage at Trees in Dallas for their first-ever, all-ages show, playing as part of the 10th annual Buzz ĖOven concert series. The show was the bandís last in Dallas before heading south on I-35 and playing Austinís South by Southwest music and film festival.

The crowd may have been young at the Dallas show and the venue only part full, but singer Joe Grah belted out each and every song on the 17-track set list like he was trying to beat out Jethro Tull for best hard-rock performance at the Grammyís.

And even if the Jibe sound, a fusion of the early 90ís Seattle scene and radio-friendly hard rock, isnít your bag, there is something to be said of the chemistry found between a band whose newest member, Corey Tatro, has already been with the group six years. Jibe gave both teens and veteran rockers their moneyís worth, putting on a performance laced with glam-rock lead-singer screams, crowd surfing, and the all-important birthday salute to the lucky fan, who surfed into the waiting arms of Grah as he met her halfway across the contingent of upraised arms.

Jibe on stage
Jibeís set included the most recent tracks from their third studio release, "Uprising," whose single "Yesterdayís Gone" has reached the No. 1 slot on stations in Dallas and Louisiana, as well as cracking the national rock charts Top 30. The album also features the latest single, "Rewind," which according to the bandís Website, is creeping up the charts in Dallas and on Austinís KLBJ (FM).

But even as they knew that playing the more popular tunes would lead to more crowd responses and eventual album sales, they stayed true to their reputation as a fanís band, playing a handful of lesser known selections from their 2000 release, "In My Head" and their 1996 self-titled debut for the die-hards. The 10 years of band chemistry shown with each songís performance.

Grah admitted being excited about the trip to Austin, calling it almost a rival of the local Dallas music scene. He is hoping to support the bandís recent radio play on KLBJ with a show as loud, intense and soulful as the one they played Saturday night in Dallas.

To anyone in Austin with a wristband: Donít worry, Jibe will make it. The van is in perfect working condition.

Jimmy LaFave, Ray Wylie Hubbard & Kevin Welch
Cactus Cafť
Austin, Texas

Ray Wylie Hubbard
Recently, three song-swapping Oklahoma boys sang, played guitar, told jokes, and seemed to have won the heart of the capacity crowd at the Cactus Cafť. Musician Kevin Welch opened the night with a smokey "For A While We Were On The Run," which might have left the audience broken-hearted if Ray Wylie Hubbard hadnít followed with "Nighttime," a jaunty song admonishing: "Itís the night peopleís job to get the day peopleís money." Then, as Jimmy LaFave tuned up for his first song ("Only One Angel"), he explained that, when they had all gotten into the music business, "We never wanted to be big stars." After a pause and a couple of strums he added, "and itís going better than we had planned." The crowd was theirs.

Kevin Welch
The highlights included LaFaveís cover of "Just Like A Woman"; "Pole Cat," Hubbardís love song for his wife; and Kevin Welchís "Killing Myself," which he described as "the laziest song I ever wrote."

Jimmy LaFave
The second set began with a blast as Welch railed against the homogenization of American with a song that included the refrain, "Haliburton Haliburton Haliburton Haliburton Haliburton." The only complaint on the night by some in the audience was that the rigid song-swapping format -- in which LaFave followed Hubbard who followed Welch who then followed LaFave and so on into the night -- prevented the performers from developing any kind of momentum as the breaks between songs yawned to five or more minutes. This flaw most affected LaFave, whose songs were the most energetic and might have benefited from more continuity.

But a number in the audience - which had knocked back a Dos Equis or two during the lengthy, 30-minute set break - didnít seem to mind. Some were dancing in the aisles (and sometimes on the seats) even when no music was playing. This rapport with the Okies was exactly what they wanted. And for all in the audience, it was a rare night of distant country music that many would remember for a long time to come.

Sidehill Gougers and the Greencards
Saxon Pub
Austin, Texas

Due to an error in the online schedule, early arrivers at the Saxon Pub might have been surprised to find the Sidehill Gougers opening for the Greencards and not the other way around. Surprised, perhaps, but not disappointed. The Gougers opened the night with a set of the kind of country music that seemed to make one believe all the world needs is a little more country music. Shane Walker and Jamie Griffin belted out original songs and covers over the backing of a pair of fiddle champions: Brian Beker and Andy Tindall. The standout song of the set was a keenly observed ballad about sitting in a bar that Walker described writing after having gone out "to drown my sorrows, came home and realized they could swim." In a stroke of luck for the music fan, the Gougers have recently added a set of new Austin appearances.

By the time the Greencards hit the stage, the somewhat meagre Gougersí crowd had filled out, grown rowdy and seemed restless. The band's Australian female, headbanging electric bassist Carol Young later described the bandís attempts to "slow it down, speed it up, but we never got them [the audience] into it." Yet, it would be wrong to fault the Greencardsí energy or execution. After a timid opening number, they tore through most of the songs on their first CD, "Moviní On."

The Greencards
With Eamon McLoughlin's fiddling and Kym Warner's thought-executing mandolin trading blows over Young's bass and an assist from Robert Earl Keen guitarist Rich Brotherton, their instrumentals burst over the crowd, commanding applause even from those portions of the crowd more intent on wine and women than on song. In general, their lyrics faired less well than the bands desire to forge a connection with the audience.

As the set wound on, the band seemed to find a new energy and McLoughlin delivered a cryptic -- and these days de rigeur -- screed against radio giant Clear Channel Communication. He described how their next song had been deemed "too graphic" for the radio airwaves, adding that "we couldn't help but agree." The song turned out to be a racy, raunchy and, above-all, sex-crazed...instrumental. Young followed with the brilliantly saucy "Movin' On," the title track of their current CD.

By the time they left the stage, the Greencards had turned in a forceful display of music energy which left a number in the audience wanting more from this absorbing band.