Friday night saw a couple of local bands pack the house upstairs at Smith’s Olde Bar. It was Friday the 13th and there was nothing going wrong as Tom Petty tunes blared from the speakers well into the evening. The Sundogs worked overtime treating the varied crowd to a damn fine set of tunes (original and Petty) after local rocker the Dirty Souls warmed things up. You must be crazy if you missed out on this one.
The Sundogs returned to the stage for their second set of the night only this one would be three times as long and only contain the tunes of Mr. Thomas Earl Petty. Friday night was the third annual Tom Petty Show and the Sundogs dished out a selection of tunes covering Petty’s entire catalog. If you wanted classic petty then you got “American Girl”, “Only The Losers” and “Don’t Do Me Like That”. Folks that came of age in the 80’s were thrilled to hear “You Got Lucky”, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream”. They had the crowd singing along with “Last Dance For Mary Jane” and "Free Fallin'" then brought out Mimi Thomas for a damn fine “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”. These dudes hit on every song the crowd wanted to hear and they nailed the Heartbreaker’s sound with jangly guitars, keyboards and sweet vocal harmonies. One of the highlights of the night was the mellow “Time To Move On” from the Wildflowers album, (I may have been in the minority on that because the crowd was pretty lubed up from alcohol consumption and just wanted to rock out). They even broke out “It’s Christmas Time Again” with the band wearing Santa & Elf hats while Jon Harris was decked out in his pink bunny pajamas (reference A Christmas Story). When the music finally halted it was close to 2am and the Sundogs had been playing around 2 hours.
Before their marathon Petty set the Sundogs treated the crowd to their original music. The set was brief but it still rocked. The triple guitar attack is what makes their music. Benji Shanks, Lee Haraway and Jon Harris each bring something different to the table. They never play over top of one another as their differing styles complement each other. Will Haraway (bass) and the drummer set the pace with some serious rhythms and Kevin Thomas supplied the soul on the keys. The altering vocal styles between Harris and L. Haraway are a nice touch. Harris’ gruffer delivery was perfect on the bluesy “Modern Day Miracle” while Haraway’s jangly voice carries “Get It Right”. One of the best songs of the night was “Desperation & Borrowed Time”, man that track sounds like something right out of Sun Volt’s catalog. They closed their first set with “I May Not Make It Into Heaven” with the assistance of a crowd that was aching to sing along. With one set down all that awaited the Sundogs was a set full of Petty tunes.
Kicking the evening off was the Dirty Souls. Each time I see these guys play live they just keep getting better. They attack the crowd with balls to the wall fuzz drenched rock and roll music. The music is familiar and makes listener’s ears happy. Songs like “Concrete Shoes” and “Don’t Mind At All” sounded great. Matt Johnson passionately attacks his vocals taking these songs to different level. The new material got a little funky but still retained the chunky rock sounds they do so well. Setting the pace was Jason Holt (bass) and Adam Johnson (drums) while Ellis Logeman (keys) provided a little soul and funk. You can describe the music as guitar driven, and Alex Slinin may be one of the most low key guitar slingers around. He effortlessly tears through riffs barely breaking a sweat forgoing the theatrics and letting his playing do all the talking. When the Dirty Souls finish a set your ears know it and the crowd wants more and Friday night was no different.
There were an incredible amount of good shows around town Friday night and I am positive I chose the right one to attend. It was a great mix of original material and Tom Petty material. The longevity of the show was rare these days as the night just kept going on and on and on. Both bands brought their “A” game mesmerizing the packed house with some great music. When things came to a close it was well into Saturday the 14th and I think the folks in attendance may have been as exhausted as the bands.