Friday Night: The Wagoneers At The Continental Club
Alt-country pioneers the Wagoneers laid down a crisp, essentially flawless 90-minute set Friday night at the Continental Club. They must've used cases of WD-40, but they showed no rust at all despite a 20-plus-year layoff. And it was unmistakable that they were having a great time being back onstage in their former stronghold, Houston.
And giving more credence to the fact that they intend to keep the project together, they delivered a set that saw quite a few new songs sprinkled among their old repertoire, although to the uninitiated it would have been hard to tell which was which.
Aftermath was expecting a larger crowd than the half-filled Continental, but that didn't dampen the spirits of front man Monte Warden, who simply could not stop grinning like bear in a honey jar all night long.
With a number of longtime fans holding down the front and singing along, Warden and his mates blasted through a set that, sonically, owed much to the Everly Brothers and to Buddy Holly. When we first encountered the Wagoneers over 20 years ago, it seemed to Aftermath that the Holly/Everlys influence wasn't as pronounced, but perhaps that was our own lack of grasp at a tender age.
One thing that was for certain was that all these men are true professionals. Well-traveled drummer and bassist Craig Pettigrew locked it down tight from the first drumbeat, and Brent Wilson showed he can twang-rock with anybody in Austin.
From a performance standpoint, no one could quibble with the show the Wagoneers delivered.
We were standing near the stage stairs when they hustled by on their way to the encore; and there was no doubt they were genuinely pumped; in that moment, you might've mistaken them for the Clash.