Hank 3 at Boulder Theater, 9/4/12
Brandon Marshall Hank 3 last night at the Boulder Theater.
HANK 3 @ BOULDER THEATER | 9/04/12
Hank 3 outlasted most of his audience last night at the Boulder Theater. Exceeding even the expectations he himself set, he played more than the three and a half hours he said he's playing on this tour. By the time he launched into the third and final set of the evening, a good three quarters of the initial crowd was gone. Too bad. Those folks missed Hank and the band dressed up in what looked like something out of Mad Max if it took place in Texas. On the screen behind the outfit, also lit by the dim green light, was a projection of a movie called Tribulation 99, and what ensued sure sounded like music for the post-apocalypse.
With a razor sharp precision and speed, Hank and the rest of the band hammered out a kind of aggressive music akin to death metal, grindcore and avant-garde guitar music that recalled John Zorn during his days with Naked City. Hands blurred as the riffing was executed. The drummer's blast beats seemed effortless as he laid down some of the most creative and heavy percussion of its type with finesse and not just speed and power.
One of the most brilliant aspects of this section of the show happened when the auctioneer samples were played and the group matched it for speed and cadence while playing music that, on the surface, flies in the face of the cultural backdrop for most people who do bid calling. Bringing the two ideas together and showing their similarity rather than differences seemed like a stroke of genius.
Tom Murphy Hank 3 during the hellbilly section of the performance at Boulder Theater
The first part of the show, and the longest, consisted of the country music and hellbilly material. It was obvious that this music holds the widest appeal of Hank 3's songwriting because during this part of the show there was far and away the most dancing. To be fair, Hank 3 and his band perform this style of music so superbly and with such confidence and charisma it draws you in.
Hank 3 is also able to spin his stories and imagery in a way that anyone can relate to if you have a little life experience under your belt. "Gutter Town" had an unexpected vibrancy and "The Rebel Within" was profane and transcendent as the band chanted along the choruses with the crowd. The song that probably seemed to sum up the evening in some ways is the defiant spirit and words of "Dick in Dixie," in which Hank 3 denounced pop country in no uncertain words.