Saturday Night: Brantley Gilbert at Reliant Stadium
The specter of Honey Boo Boo hovered over Brantley Gilbert Saturday at RodeoHouston. If one single human being apart from the not-so-pint-sized TLC reality star embodies the word "redneckognize," it's the man responsible for the song "Kick It In the Sticks."
It's a land of barbed wire and moonshine whiskey
Park your car before you get it stuck
Go on, grab you a beer
And get on up in the truck
So...yeah. Gilbert tends to make Toby Keith (or Stone Cold Steve Austin, for that matter) sound like James Taylor. But he manages to do so without sounding like a total dick about it, which is no small accomplishment. Just look at Jason Aldean.
Unlike the rather dour Aldean, who has recorded Gilbert's "Dirt Road Anthem" and "My Kinda Party," what saves Gilbert's (red)neck is that he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. Obviously he enjoys himself in his songs, most of which are chiefly devoted to the trade of raising hell, but onstage Saturday he was chipper and self-effacing.
"There are a lot of y'all out there, and this stage is moving, and it's freaking me out a little bit," he said.
Gilbert also mentioned that his bass player "can throw up at will, and if that happens I apologize." Sadly, the revolving stage remained vomit-free for another evening as Gilbert and his band put it through some vigorous paces with several rockers that distilled a potent blend of Skynyrd, Hank Jr. and AC/DC.
His salute to '90s country, a cover of David Lee Murphy's "Dust On the Bottle," rocked hard in spite of itself, but that's no cardinal sin. "Bending the Rules," as perfect a Saturday-night anthem as you could ask for, also made for a nice little wink at Johnny Paycheck.