Tuesday night I went down to The Sanctuary to see the Hank Williams III show. Tate suggested that I check it out, and since it was a Tuesday night and there wasn’t much else going on, I figured why not.
I arrived just before 10pm, grabbed a Shiner and walked into the music room. J.B. Beverley and The Wayward Drifters was the opening band and they were about halfway through their set when I got there. I was a little uneasy with the crowd that was there, but I chilled and focused on the band. They were playing some really great original music that J.B. composed himself. It reminded me of the Plum Hollow Band (Woodstick) that I used to see back when I was in college. The banjo player looked like he could even have been Barney Barnwell‘s long lost brother. They tore up a few bluegrass songs as well, but mostly stuck to anti-Nashville country stuff. I bought a live CD of their’s and its pretty good as well.
After J.B. and the boys finished up, there was about a 20 minute break before Hank III and his guys came on stage. I noticed during the setup that there was a white Gibson SG on stage that sounded a little rough for a country show, but whatever.
Hank III and his band came on stage and the place went wild. Normally that doesn’t mean much, but at The Sanctuary it does. This was not a normal crowd. These guys and gals were the roughest of the rough that San Antonio has to offer. Frankly, I was a little scared. During the break I had made my way up to about the 4th row of people from the stage. As soon as the band started playing the guy immediately in front of me started a fight with the guy in front of him. I gradually stepped back a row or two and tried to focus on the music. Hank III has a great stage presence, and is really fun to watch. As for the rest of the band, well, they are an animated bunch of unruly souls. I kept thinking that these guys looked like they belonged in a death metal band, not an old-school country band. They played a bunch of original songs, and a lot of covers from Johnny Cash, Hank Sr, Hank Jr, and even covered the classic “Wreck of the old 97“. Whenever he saw a fight about to break out, Hank told the crowd many times that he was going to come down and kick some ass. He never discouraged the fight, he just let them know that he was going to get involved if necessary. That seemed to be enough to make people chill out, temporarily. Nevertheless, I eventually ended up near the back because of all the fight-happy people there.
After about an hour, Hank took off his cowboy hat, dowsed himself with a bottle of water, and said to the crowd “Well, that was the first part of our show”, picked up the white Gibson SG and began playing death metal. The real thing. Some other gnarly dude got on stage and started growling and making all sorts of awful noises. Out of pure shock, I stayed for the first “song.” By the end of the first noise-piece there was a full blown mosh pit, with people hitting each other and all that mess. Yeah, this was definitely not the sort of thing I normally see on a Tuesday night. When the band started making noise again I decided that the music I was interested in was probably over for the night, so I headed home.
An interesting night to say the least.