There was a ton of good music happening in the area this weekend. As the beer and Jameson flowed across town at ShamrockFest, it was about beer and bourbon at the 9:30 Club, as Saturday was the first of two nights of Drive-By Truckers. Out supporting its 12th release, English Oceans, the band packed the sold-out venue with old and new fans. Lead singers/guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley ran the show as if the band was the house band at a backyard party, telling stories about family, cracking wise, and looking out for their “guests,” stopping the show at one point to point out an audience member having trouble up front (later on, a patron was taken out via ambulance). Drive-By Truckers songs are more Southern Gothic than Southern Sweetness, but like the music that backs Hood’s lyrics, they are a powerhouse to hear. Live, it becomes a wall of sound.

Side note: The first single from English Oceans, “Pauline Hawkins,” is inspired by a recent book by Willy Vlautin called The Free. In the New York Times Book Review yesterday, it was said that Hood wrote the song “in homage to the nurse at the center of The Free.” What did he respond to in the character of Pauline? “She had lived a tough life and had a brutal job,” he said. “I finished the book on Saturday and wrote the song on Sunday.””

See photos from the show in the Gallery.