Brent Best’s show at the Barley House Sunday night was heavy on audience participation even if it was a little light on audience. While it was a pretty sparse crowd that showed up at least it had the advantage of being a pretty attentive group.
While his bandmates Jess Barr and Tony Harper worked the bar, Brent engaged the faithful with lots of banter, played a surprising mix of covers and originals and slammed down a few drinks.
Seeing Brent play solo, I’m always a little curious whether the focus will be more on the old Slobberbone or the newer Drams material. Who would’ve thought that Sunday night would be all about The Jayhawks?
They seemed to be on his mind anyway. After playing a great cover of “Martin’s Song” in the first set, it looked like he might actually play “Blue” in the second. He didn’t, but he did strum the intro.
He also pointed out the saddest line of any song ever written:
Angeline forgive me, we threw it all away.
I could never fit into your plans.
I’m nobody’s man.
from the Jayhawk’s “Angeline”- he sang it a few times, in falsetto even, to drive home the point.
While it may be debatable whether that’s the saddest line ever, it was a nice fit with the somewhat wistful tone of the covers he did play: A beautiful rendition of Gillian Welch’s “Annabelle” and, most surprisingly, Neil Young’s “Albuquerque.”
The show was a mix of a few Drams songs and a lot of old Slobberbone favorites like “Love Is Waning,” “Dunk You In The River” and “One Rung.”
He previewed a song he said he’s still working on called “Footnote.” He wanted to see how it would work as a call and response- so if you’re ever at a Drams show and they play it- you’re supposed to yell “footnote- footnote” after he sings a line. It actually sounded a lot better than it looks on paper.
He was joined onstage by a woman (didn’t get her name) for a duet of “To Love Somebody.” He graciously (if a bit reluctantly) played “I’ll Be Damned” and “Pinball Song” as requests and even did a pretty impressive first verse and chorus of “Whiskey Glass Eye.”
By that time he was “hammered” and searching for the perfect song to close the show with. He considered and dismissed a few audience suggestions before calling his friend back up for a great closing duet on “Des Moines.”
For the dedicated few who did show up, the whole thing was well worth a Monday morning hangover.
At least it was for me, anyway.