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Sunday, April 10, 2011

My wife takes me to see Dwight Yoakam and the accoustics at Spirit Mountain are absolutely horrible!

My lovely wife took me to see Dwight Yoakam at the Spirit Mountain Casino's auditorium last night.
I discovered Dwight Yoakam while looking for the Johnny Horton song, "Honky Tonk Man."
Back in the 1980's, especially in this little slice of heaven that I call home, country music was not promoted, and was mostly considered uncool.
My high school was populated by kids who wore bell bottoms cut off a little high and quite frayed in the manner of timber fallers and they listened to AC/DC and Foreigner. (As I recall)
I remember Butch from Discus Records tried to get me to buy Dwight's first album but I did not have the $6.99 to try out a new album. A year or so later I had to special order it and I think I got it from Roundup Records mail order company when I was in college, as I think Butch had quit by then. (I still have his Kenwood KA3500 amp out of the record store)
So, unless my memory is completely shot I've been a bit of a Dwight Yoakam fan for a few years now.
At the time I was just out of high school and was concerned about things like authenticity and real emotion and for all of Dwight's posing there was energy and authenticity in his first two albums.
Dwight was not so far removed from the hard working, suffering sort of white person who we find in "Sidewalks of Chicago." He grew up in Columbus, Ohio but his parent's were from coal country. People who moved to the city to better their lives.
(I did not do a complete internet search so I might have some details wrong. You can do your own search and complain if you like.)
Dwight Yoakam and Merle Haggard are the last real Country (Dwight) and Western (Merle) artists left and from a cultural perspective will most likely remain so.
Sure we will always have "shit and sit back down in it" music from the Billy Ray Cyrus/Nashville school of over produced country music, but it ain't the same to me.
I can't get into the cultural demographic of,  "my parents did a lot of drugs and I'm not sure who my father is but I love the USA and my dog and my truck and I am determined to ruin my life with meth but I like corn bread and I'm a country boy, really, and I love my momma and I might love God but I'm pretty confused on that subject," which is my view of modern country. After being forced to listen to it for a summer on the shop radio.
And I love the steel guitar and western swing/tex-mex influence in Merle's music. Merle is from CA and Dwight from the midwest and there you have it. End of the era.
But, I digress...
I need a refresher on why I dislike Sprit Mountain every so often.
I should have posted a photo of their overpass to nowhere, but I like it how they bought an overpass on HWY 18 to by pass the Fastway, or Coastway or whatever Chevron station on the way to the coast. Put them out of business so that the Casino gas station could get all the traffic.
But, I digress again...
The Casino makes millions of dollars. Basically takes it from idiots who throw away their life savings on one-armed bandits. So, you would think they could spend a little to build a really good sounding venue for the bands they bring in to attract more gamblers.
That was the worst sound of any concert I have ever been to, excepting the Satyricon in the late 1980's.
I don't mind the loud music. In fact I expect it it. It was the harmonic distortion thing in the upper midrange that combined Dwights nasal twang and his guitar twang into some sort of sonic death ray that echoed around in my brain and could not escape due to one ear being completely plugged.
I didn't even mind the drunk lady stomping her feet so hard the video screen jiggled. But the sound, and the repeated screeching of feed back from the microphones drove me insane.
Dwight was good. Seemed to be happy. He did rush through nearly his entire discography in 2.5 hrs. Security kept the middle-aged ladies from rushing the stage until his encore.
The crowd was older.
I had to think back to when I saw Johnny Cash. I think he was 25 years past his hits then, and I guess Dwight is the same age difference now.
I expected to see more young people but then again, how would you even hear of anything out of the ordinary with the same playlist on every radio station.


  1. Listening to Modern Country for more than a few songs at a time makes me borderline homicidal. You can actually feel yourself losing brain matter. Your description of the target demographic is pretty good.

    I've been a Dwight fan since the early 90's. I think I first heard him on KRKT AM in the 2-135, in fact. I would have been listening to KFAT but the 2-135 only had AM at that time. Wish I could go back and listen to radio broadcasts on KFAT and KRKT from about that time.

    Ditto on the casino commentary. I've not been to a show there, but the whole overpass thing? Wow.

  2. Country living is where drive by shootings are intended for deer. Commercial country music is really bad pop with a violinist and a drum set, and Audible Boy's Guide to Musical Reality has a section describing pitchfork and shovel handles and calluses. Pretty boys with hats, isn't that a genre?

    Give me the woods, chill in the air and a fire, and friends playing southern old-time. We've seen the sun come up doing that. Makes bacon taste even better.

    Spirit Mountain is about the only place to get coffee with any octane rating at the time of night we typically pass through there. The whole place is kind of an inoculation against how not to be.

  3. Not Bad. Googled bought an overpass etc. and you came up 1 and 2.

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    the lazy farmer
    Apr 10, 2011 ... I should have posted a photo of their overpass to nowhere, but I like it how they bought an overpass on HWY 18 to by pass the Fastway, ... - Similar

    Glad you got unstuck.

  4. Oh yeah, Dwight's ok singer. Not bad actor too. See "Sling Blade". I don't hear much worth listening to in today's country unless its a cover of an old classic. But maybe thats just me being a curmudgeon. Best tune I heard lately is this interesting version of a classic
    I could (and do) listen to this one every day lately. Absolutely mesmerizing beat of an old engine there.

  5. Went to the show. Irritated by the feedback at least once during every song. I like DY, but I am convinced he was soused. I've seen him before, and last night he seemed to have trouble with the words (even though he's always been a mumbler) and trouble standing up straight at times. Might be wrong, but I don't think so. Mr. "I don't eat meat, drink, etcetera" isn't so squeeky clean, imo.

    Overall, given the price for tickets compared to what other concerts cost these days, we had fun.

  6. I've said before that modern "country" is more watereed-down southern rock than anything else. Guess that's kind of an insult to southern rock, though.

  7. Since my comments on the overpass to nowhere show up pretty high in the Google search lists I suppose I should qualify that as my opinion and the opinion of a number of other local people. We understand that ODOT does not understand traffic flow patterns or traffic safety any better than I despite millions of dollars and lots of those little sensors on the highway. And that ODOT had a lot to do with screwing up that section of Highway 18, but...
    Anyway, that is the opinion of someone who has had to move wide farm equipment through that section and who resorted to 4WD to climb the hill around the barricades while pulling a 15ft no-till drill-and who used to use the FastWay parking lot to let traffic go by before crossing the bridge.

  8. Orin, There seems to be no alternate country stations left. No college station, nor an oldies FM station. I guess there is no point with internet radio and ipod playlists. I wonder if that was why there were very few young people at the DY concert. I expected to see some of those entertaining retro-country-punk kids as that was really Dwight's niche in the 1980's.

  9. I sorta have to swallow my pride and listen to the same public radio stations that I made fun of a few years back. We've been rockin' 92-V (KRVM, 91.9) in the shop lately, followed by KLCC. KBOO is a little weak here.

    I really need to start a radio station. Scrap is up, maybe I could generate enough for start-up of a pirate radio staion from the proceeds of some certain red machines?

  10. Orin, listening to KBOO is no virtue. I always found KLCC a good alternative when I could hear it. I would like to hear a station that played a variety of music. I don't think that will happen. I wonder if you could do it on your own. I think there are people who would listen. Perhaps not.
    Collieguy, Dwight is an interesting singer/songwriter. His roots are in Kentucky and he has paid tribute to the greats of old country. His whole tight jeans and big hat kind of put me off but I figure he is now from California so whatever...
    Ralph, I'm not that impressed with Dwight's singing ability. I think he plays up the twang a bit much but I find him more authentic and I generally like his songs. He was good in "Slingblade."
    Georges, Yes and yes.

    Anonymous-I was that really tall handsome fellow with the attractive and younger wife. In the upper section. I look sort of like Paul Newman.
    But I digress, I thought Dwight started out friendly and talkative but there were problems with the mike and it seemed to me that about a third of the way into the show he just started running through the playlist as fast as he could. He has been at this for a few years. I'm not sure the Casino circuit with security keeping everyone away from the stage would not give you the energetic feedback from the audience that makes you give 110 percent. He started out playing roots rock and punk clubs in CA and that is a far cry from the 40-somethings at Spirit mountain.
    But, I really don't know. I enjoyed the show in spite of the sound issues. I'd never seen him before so I have no reference point.
    Thanks for commenting. Hope you stick around.

  11. I am jannet,from what I can read. It has been sad news and scam to everyone about Voodoo casters or so. But to me they are so real cause one worked for me not quite two weeks. I traveled down to where his shrine his and we both did the ritual and sacrifice. and now me and my ex are living very ok now.I don't know about you but Voodoo is real;love marriage,finance, job promotion ,lottery Voodoo,poker voodoo golf Voodoo,it's all he does. I used my money to purchase everything he used he never collected a dime from. He told me I can repay him anytime with anything from my heart. Now I don't know how to do that. If you can help or you need his help write him on Thank you.

  12. Dear nativedoctor, you are posting on a site populated by the sorts of Christians who will most likely pray for you. I have heard this causes problems with voodoo rituals. Perhaps you should try spamming a different sort of site.

  13. Dwight absolutely doesn't drink alcohol, to the person who thought he was soused at a show. Yes, he mumbles and pretends to stumble, sometimes, on purpose. It's all part of his unique stage persona. He's shy and self effacing and jokes with the audience through his words and body language. Seen him dozens of times. Believe me, it's just Dwight being Dwight and there's nobody like him.

  14. Anonymous, a friend who works at the casino said he got his payment form the cashier right after the show and went to his room. I suspect the casino circuit is kind of painful but probably pays well. I figured after the first few horrible feedback screeches Dwight just decided to get it over with and started playing hard and fast and got it done.


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