Thursday, November 21, 2019

Live Shows: Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Atwood's Tavern, Cambridge, MA 11/18/19

Photo by Chris Sikich
I'm quickly becoming a fan of the no opener/twenty song setlist trend. This past Monday night saw Sarah Shook & The Disarmers taking the stage at Atwood's Tavern (which is becoming their de facto Boston area home base) shortly after 9:30 pm and playing nineteen songs. Pretty perfect way to see a band these days.

This was my third time seeing Sarah Shook & The Disarmers live since discovering them since May 2018, and the second time I saw them at Atwood's. It was a diehard crowd that came out on a Monday night. We've seen these songs performed live before, and we'll see them again. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers put on an amazing show with their blend of country, rock, and punk. While the songs from their last two albums definitely lean more heavily on the rock side of things, they broke out two new songs ("Night Rumour" and "Black Angels") that came across much more rock than I would have expected. "Black Angels" in particular has a certain feel that it could easily morph into a rock epic once it works its way around their live show for a couple of years.

And then there were the hits. "Fuck Up," "Nothin' Feels Right But Doin' Wrong," "Misery Without Company," "Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don't," etc are all modern country-punk masterpieces. The crowd seemed to be older than the typical hipster Americana fans you'd expect, but that could be that Sarah Shook & The Disarmers play a brand of country that's completely timeless and you don't hear very often these days. Of course, the secret weapon at any Disarmers show is guitarist Eric Peterson. As anyone who has seen the documentary What It Takes: a film en douze tableaux knows, he is quite the unique character. And as anyone who has seen a live shows knows, he's a killer guitarist. There's something truly charming about watching him nod at individual audience members clapping after a particularly great solo.

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