Concert Report: James McMurtry @ Attitudes in Blacksburg, VA 10/17/09

Well let me do a quick write-up about this. For those who have seen McMurtry perform you folks already know it was a killer show. Everyone I’ve ever talked to as a matter of fact who has seen McMurtry live all say he is amazing. This concert, friends, was no different.

A rare treat for us in the New River Valley to have a performer of this caliber come to town, and also my first McMurtry show. James said he had been trying to get down to Blacksburg for years, as he grew up in Loudon County Virginia, and he said half of his friends went to college at Virginia Tech. We are glad he finally got here. The place was small and in a holiday inn (or was it a mariott) and there were only maybe 70 people there, but every one of them was a McMurtry fan. Some came from West Virginia, Roanoke, North Carolina, even Kentucky. It was a pretty good mix of people from intellectuals familiar with McMurtry’s NPR features, to old hippies from Floyd, VA, to rowdy hell raisers happy to partake in the $1 PBR special (this being the camp I myself most closely fell). One group suspiciously absent though were students…hmm…their loss.
When McMurtry and The Heartless Bastards took the stage as a power trio, the dance floor filled and the band kicked into Bayou Tortous (Tortue??) [watch a clip of Bayou Tortous].
The energy of the show was incredible, and later in the show we found out why. During his rousing (and I mean ROUSING!) rendition of crowd favorite (by crowd I mostly mean me) Choctaw Bingo he riffed that they had just gotten back to the states from the UK the day before, and it’s good to see some people moving their asses for a change! He then tagged on “they’re good people they just don’t move”. Everyone was moving at this place, in fact Choctaw built to such a climax he could have easily lead us all happily dancing and grooving into the mouth of a fiery volcano….it was that kind of concert! [watch a clip of Choctaw Bingo]
While the concert was mostly a rowdy ass rock show including killer versions of Red Dress, Too Long in The Wasteland, and my new favorite Lobo Town, (which goes with my theory that the rowdiness of a show is inversely proportional to the price of beer at said show), he did play a couple slow ones. These were Ruby and Carlos, which he played solo and Hurricane Party. Mostly though it was high octane McMurtry and The Heartless Bastards, who he quipped were going to have to change their name because “that band from Ohio has gotten too big”. He then dubbed the band James McMurtry and The Motherfuckers, which he didn’t think was taken yet. Someone in the crowd yelled “Go Motherfuckers go!”, and that’s the best way to sum up this show…..Go motherfucker go!
Here is a full clip of Hurricane party, the only song I captured in full (click the other links above to see short clips)
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