Wow, what a show! Someone call the fire department for Buck's Bar and Grill because Them Dirty Roses just burned that mother to the ground!
To back up just a bit, about 6 or 7 months ago Them Dirty Roses' PR manager Tom George of TAG Publicity posted on Facebook that Them Dirty Roses (TDR) were going to be the next big thing and everyone should check them out. Now, Tom has awesome taste in music and works with some stellar artists (Static-X and Blacktop Mojo) just to name a few. So when he posts a new band to check out I always pay attention.
To be honest, I don't remember the specific TDR song Tom posted, but it didn't really grab me right away. When I saw Tom post they were coming to Omaha I checked them out a bit further on Spotify but I still wasn't all the way on the TDR bus. When Tom reached out and asked if I would cover the show I was interested because seeing a band live is always the way to go. Let me tell you what, always listen to Tom's picks. TDR was insane live and there's a very good chance they could be the next big thing!
When I saw TDR was coming to Buck's Bar and Grill in Waterloo, NE I had to do a Google search. How have I been in the Midwest music scene this long and not heard of Buck's Bar? Nestled only 15 minutes outside of Omaha just a stone's throw from Two Rivers State Park, Buck's is just like something you would see in the movies. As you pull in off the highway you're greeted by rows of trucks along the dusty driveway and revving motorcycles parked out front. As you walk in there's a small bar, a decent floor space for the band and a medium size dining room. The jukebox was blaring some country tune about "He don't love me like tequila". Sounds about right.
With Christmas lights strung and a few L.E.D cans the lighting was actually pretty decent compared to most gigs in a dark club. Things were looking up. As I stood in front of the band's gear waiting for the show to start I looked around and realized there was no A.C. in this place! On a night where the temp is still in the high 90s even after 9:00 I knew this was going to be a hot one, figuratively and literally.
I'm not sure if it was the heat messing with the tuning or what but it took a while to get the sound checked. From what the band was playing for the sound check it sounded great to me, but being the professionals they were, TDR wanted to get everything right. Owner Buck said they weren't able to sound check earlier in the day because they had a surprise dinner rush and their clientele, skewing a bit older, would've had a heart attack with the gnarly southern rock. That got a good laugh from the crowd.
After the sound check the band took a quick break for some shots of Jager, and then it was time to rock! They kicked things off with the song "Grew Up In The Country" and had the place swingin. This was a great opener as it basically tells the band's background in song.
Born and raised in the 'Bama clay Where my daddy's rock and roll took a hold of me Skynyrd and Hank, they taught me How to bend a string and break a heart Southern way's just the way we are I grew up in the country With a 12 gauge shotgun I grew up in the country Underneath that sweetgum I'll chase it, rock and roll Don't forget, nah everybody knows That I grew up in the country And the country grew up in me
Made my way, to Tennessee With a band of Alabama boys like me Found a space, to let us play I crank back a shot, and turn it on Soon we have the whole damn crowd singin'... I grew up in the country With a 12 gauge shotgun I grew up in the country Underneath that sweetgum I'll chase it, rock and roll Don't forget, nah everybody knows That I grew up in the country And the country grew up in me
Those two-for-ones under neon lights Don't hit me like my daddy's shine From the muddy water to the Georgia pines Mississippi River to the Carolines If you feel me go clap your hands If you're country then you'll understand Ain't from around hear, just pretend Here we go, we gonna sing it again
From there, the crowd was fully onboard and ready to get down. The next song "Molly" had those trademark "Lynyrd Skynyrd" southern-rock guitar riffs and a nice little soul groove. "Oh Molly we've been walkin on sunshine, ain't we livin us the good life". It was a great way to keep things light. Next up was the banger "Whiskey In My Cup" and all the drinks raised in a toast.
When you're in Buck's Bar the staples are Whiskey, Rock N' Roll, Fightin, Fallin in Love, and Partying. These boys checked all the boxes with songs like "Sunday Drunk", "Black Magic Lady", and "Back Home". Throughout the set bass player Ben Crain was the resident comedian. He had so many good one-liners.
"It's like Thanksgiving in here, with all the "Kickin Chicken" flowing (Wild Turkey whiskey)". That got a lot of laughs. He went on to explain that when he was a teenager his parents kept a bottle of Wild Turkey under the sink. "I filled that thang with water so many times it started turnin light brown".
As much as Ben cracked jokes he told the crowd about the band and what they were really all about. "You can call us rock, country, southern-rock, or whatever you want. We don't really have a genre. We're just out here trying to tell our story and express our feelings with these songs. If you guys listen and you feel something that's what it's all about". With all the cheers and claps I know everyone in the room was connecting. Even though it was a small room with a fairly intimate crowd you would've thought it was an arena with how well TDR played.
Towards the end of the set, the boys pulled out a killer cover of "Mississippi Queen" that just brought the house down! Talk about a Southern-rock masterpiece. The drums were bangin and the bass groove made you want to get down and dirty. Several folks got up and made their way to the front to shake it.
With only a few songs left TDR broke out their "hit" as they called it "Cocaine and Whiskey". When the venue owner Buck asked them to play the hit the band said "We have a hit?" Looking on Spotify they have almost 9 million plays, so I'd say that's a hit in my book! You could tell it was one of their bigger songs because even the wait staff stopped to sing along.
Overall TDR put in almost two hours and played 17 songs! When I looked on Spotify it didn't seem like they had that much of a catalog just yet, so I was shocked when I saw their setlist. You'll find no complaints from me as they did an amazing job rocking the roof off Buck's Bar.
As the final song "Shake It" was coming to and end the boys pulled out a gnarly, crunchy, break down that would've rivaled most hardcore bands. The final notes rang out to a standing ovation. I'm really glad I was able to catch these guys in such a unique little venue. I sincerely hope I can one day soon say "Man, I saw those guys at Buck's Bar in Waterloo." Knowing how awesome this show was, I think there's a good chance that just might happen!
If you're reading this on 8.27.21 Them Dirty Roses just dropped a new song "Ain't No Need" on Spotify. Go right now and check it out!
Shout out to Buck's Bar for brining TDR and Tom George at TAG Publicity for setting up photos.