Not totally wasted

Dave Gleason’s Wasted Days Mr. Lucky, Thurs., Jan. 22

I’m glad Chico’s neo-hipsters still have a place in their hearts for straight-ahead country rock. Mr. Lucky’s stage looked good with the Wasted Days’ shiny gold-flake Ludwig drum kit sparkling in the center surrounded by guitars and amplifiers, and it looked even better once the instruments were taken up by their respective players.

The barn-like vastness of Mr. Lucky has a tendency to swallow up sound, but Dave Gleason and company had no trouble or qualms about filling it up with a stripped down, harder-edged version of the piano- and steel-embellished production of their eponymous album.

Gleason is a wiry, charismatic bandleader with shaggy blond hair and a voice that reminded me more of Dwight Yoakum than Waylon Jennings. And he’s a country riff-meister par excellence, with a crisp rhythmic lead style that propels the simple melodies into the stratosphere while simultaneously guiding dancers around the floor in graceful union with the bass of Michael Theriau and the drums of John Keat.

I can’t wait till this band comes back to town so I can spend an evening enjoying them without the distraction of having to scribble my impressions down in a notebook and can just revel in the sound of a great honky-tonk band doing what it does best. In the meantime I recommend finding the album and keeping your eyes open for a new one titled Midnight, California due out March 9. Great stuff.