It was a sad day for Texas music on March 13, 2005. That’s when people from as far away as Europe crowded into a sold-out Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton to bid farewell to the State’s reigning ‘best bar band’. That final show was short on covers and long on remembrances, for the band and the audience alike.
They resurrected a “Barrel Chested” era documentary film to kick off the night, standing quietly onstage while the film rolled on a screen set up near the entrance. Then they played for a little over two hours. While the album of the night seemed to be their second release, “Barrel Chested”, they managed to cover their entire career, but went sparingly on their last and most over-produced record, “Slippage”.
Fittingly enough, the crowd seemed drunker than usual, even for a Slobberbone show. So while the beer and whiskey soaked crowd raised their bottles and glasses, the band kept playing songs about, mostly, drinking.
When they first emerged on the scene way back in the early to mid 90s, they were compared to Uncle Tupelo, just like every other “alt country” rock band at the time; only these guys not only had a sense of humor, they, at least to this observer, didn’t take themselves quite as seriously as that by-then-defunct Illinois band. And like UT in the early days, their songs were part punk-rock, part southern-rock and part country. They mixed banjos and fiddles with the blaring electric guitars and channeled the feedback into glorious melodic anthems to lost love, lost dreams, and whiskey. Over the years, it became apparent that they probably owed more in the way of influence to Neil Young and Crazy Horse than to Uncle Tupelo.
And now that it’s all over, it looks like frontman Brent Best will continue to play the occasional solo show and the rest of us, at least locally, can wait for the inevitable reunion shows. As far as bands go, it was a great run.
Here’s to them!