Mouth at Town Point Park in Norfolk, VA 6/22/02
Cowboy Mouth concerts are not really concerts. Theyre actually no-holds-barred, crazy-ass parties. If you arent in a good mood when you get there, trust me when I tell you that by the time you leave, Fred LeBlanc and crew, who thrive on the creation of pandemonium, will have brightened your mood by the time you leave.
Despite one of the most
rigorous touring schedules of any band in America, Cowboy Mouth still manages to
make you feel like the show you are watching is their best and the only one that
really matters. And what a show it
always is. LeBlanc, the drummer and
lead singer, is always found front and center stage, and hes perhaps the most
charismatic frontman in rock music today. Whether
its his high-flying drumsticks and twirling cymbals or his jaunts through the
crowd, LeBlanc keeps the audience on its toes from the first song to the last.
On this particular night, the
Mouth was joined on guitar by Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish, in the
absence of regular guitarist John Thomas Griffith.
No big difference was noticeable until Bryan sang parts of Man on the
Run completely off-key. Maybe
he should just stick to Hootie.
The band opened with an
energized version of Light It On Fire, and LeBlanc didnt leave me
guessing at how long before he ran out into the crowd.
I think this was a new record: half way through the first song, he was
out there, riling the crowd as if he was leading a pep rally, urging them to
come closer, sing along, drink more, and scream louder, to which the 1000+ crowd
The audience stayed attentive
as the Mouth cranked out songs such as Louisiana Lowdown, and Here
Comes Trouble. All the while,
the band led the crowd in various chants, including The name of the band
is Cowboy Mouth! The name of the
band is Cowboy Mouth! With all
pretensions checked at the gate in exchange for some Bud Light, cheers like this
seemed all in good fun. With So
Sad About Me, the Mouth funked things up a bit, and LeBlanc got the crowd
singing along, no matter whether they knew the words or not.
Occasional Zydeco and Buegrass tunes were also thrown into the set, and
even though this was a Cajun festival, the drunken crowd seemed to lose some
interest during these numbers as a result of their shortened attention spans.
Still, the Loretta Lynn cover of Dont come home a Drinkin was
a highlight of the show. Following that, Love of My Life made the crowd go nuts.
I think that every time Ive
seen Cowboy Mouth play, theyve closed the show with the closest thing
theyve ever had to a radio hit, their song Jenny Says.
And theres always a twist. This
time, LeBlanc brought children from the crowd up on the stage and let them have
a field day banging on his drums and screaming into the mics.
Lets be honest Cowboy Mouth is not going to win any awards for creating ground-breaking music. Yet I can say that some of my fondest concert memories involved Cowboy Mouth, where for just a short time, I could follow the bands lead and Let it go, let it go, let it go; when the world keeps coming down on me, I let it go!
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