Last Night: Jason Aldean At RodeoHouston
You can tell everything you need to know about Jason Aldean by looking at his steel guitarist's forearms Sunday.
First, he had a steel guitarist. Of the handful of Rodeo acts Aftermath saw this year, not everyone had a fiddle, but everyone except Kid Rock and Janet Jackson had a steel guitar. We won't go so far as to say this automatically makes Aldean country, but it doesn't hurt.
Before we go any further, one request: Entertainers, please introduce your band, and introduce them so the players' names can be heard distinctly. That may be one hurdle the Reliant sound engineers - who overall did a much better job this year - may not be able to clear yet, but still, it would be nice.
Like Steel Guy here. Those forearms were as heavily tattooed as any given member of your average alternative-rock band. Yeah, we know - tattoos on a musician. Big deal.
But in this case, those tattoos made perfect sense during the last two songs of the set, "Hicktown" and "She's Country," which stepped way over the contempo-country line with riffs that bordered on hard rock and even metal. The muddin' videos during the former also made us smile, because it's not like we were expecting Jones Hall or anything.
We're not talking about Seether here, and we don't expect to see Aldean at Buzz Fest anytime soon, but those two songs were more muscular than anything else we heard at the Rodeo this year except Martina McBride's voice. Kid Rock included.
Up until then, the set was heavy on rockers that weren't quite that mosh-friendly, but seemed to exist for the purpose of showing off Aldean's limber band more than making any kind of statement. "Tattoos On This Town" opened with a steamy blues intro that suggested the Alan Parsons Project plus a banjo; "Amarillo Sky" had a lot of Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road"; and Aldean's estimation of Nashville, "Crazy Town" ("make all the drunk girls scream and shout") made a solid case that country - as it's called today - is the new arena rock.