Southern Culture on the Skids Sierra Nevada Big Room, Tues., May 4
By 7 o’clock there was a respectable crowd filling up the waiting area of the Big Room. And by 7:30 we were all seated, introducing ourselves to each other and deciding on what brand of pitcher to soak up.
North Carolina’s Southern Culture on the Skids’ somewhat tentative opening, “C’mon & Get It,” used a lively blues riff to test the limitations of the house PA and came out on top. From that point the sound man got it dialed in and the band kept the enthusiastic crowd dancing up a storm for the rest of the show.
By the time SCOTS front man Rick Miller introduced “Too Much Pork for One Fork,” the party was on big time, as was evidenced by the wall-to-wall writhing bodies covering the dance floor. One of the most unique sights of the night was a small boy, aged 3 or 4, dancing with his parents while wearing a pair of hearing-protective earmuffs and having a great time as the band played a floor-packing version of “Greenback Fly.”
Miller was obviously enjoying reeling off stupendous guitar lines and singing his irrepresible party anthems, but more than one of the concert’s highlights were provided by bassist Mary Huff’s crystal-clear lead vocals, such as the one she slayed the crowd with on “The Real Nitty Gritty,” which was followed by Miller’s ode to “the mullet of the muscle car world,” his “'69 El Camino,” a car lover’s dream song powered by a driving beat that provided a perfect setting for his lascivious lead guitar antics.
The triple-pronged theme of the night was sex, cars and food, as Miller’s hilarious introductory monologue to “My Love for You is Like a Big Pine Tree” made very clear. And as if that wasn’t nasty enough, Mary’s backup vocal on the party anthem “Firefly” soon had the whole house doing a shoulder-rolling hootchie-cootchie dance.
Second guitarist Ed from Ohio, who played a killer trumpet solo on the classic “Liquored up and Lacquered Down,” provided an ecstatically solid bottom for Miller’s consistently brilliant leads, and the new material from the recently released Mojo Box proved that this band will be providing party soundtracks long after the cows come home.