Pat Green serves gritty fare, at Joe's Bar

by Alison Bonaguro

Special to the Tribune Published- April 28, 2008


A Pat Green concert is not for the faint of heart. A show like his takes stamina, spirit and a love of the Texas fringe sound. And the capacity crowd at Green's Saturday gig at Joe's Bar had it all.

You could count the cowboy hats on one handóGreen's iconic kind of country just isn't the hat act kind. Even though he opened with the radio-friendly "Baby Doll," it was his off-the-radar tunes that attracted such a cult following.

And it was his meandering speeches that provoked his fans as much as the music. On politics: "Let's give everybody free beer and see how the economy goes. Who cares? We'll be drunk," he said. On playing guitar: "Growing up as the fat kid, you're always swimming in a T-shirt. But a guitar is very slimming." In between all the chatter, though, Green and his band managed to squeeze in 17 songs, filling the bar with his enormous gritty voice and solid rock melodies. Green's been at thisóraucous live showsófor more than 15 years, so he has plenty of tunes to pull from. Most turned into drunken singalongs, but nobody there could keep up with Green on the old-timey fast-talker "Here We Go."

For one brief moment, Green paid respect to the mainstream. He let lead guitarist Brett Danaher sing Garth Brooks' "If Tomorrow Never Comes." It may have started out as a mock tribute, but a classic hit is a hit no matter how much sarcasm's in your voice.

Unlike so many singers that make noise at Joe's Bar only to find themselves voiceless by the end of the set, Green's voice strengthened as the night wore on. By encore time, he never sounded better.

"This is the only part of the night where I feel like Keith Urban," he said as he eased from his 2003 hit "Wave on Wave" into U2's 1987 "With or Without You."


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