Ted Nugent at House of Blues, 8/22/2013
Music and politics go hand in hand. Ever since the first person put lyrics to a beat, politics have been involved. Ted Nugent and politics also go hand in hand, which was obvious from the moment he hit the stage at House of Blues Thursday night.
Armed with a three-piece backing band, Nugent brought his politics and music to Houston last night, and for a good hour and 45 minutes the adoring crowd ate up every single minute of it. There were two different performances during the show -- the music side, which featured some of the best playing I've seen in a while, and the political side, which surely had a lot to say.
I'm fortunate enough to enjoy the beginning of most shows I attend in the photo pit, which gives me unprecedented viewing of every artist I see. While I'm usually busy taking pictures, sometimes a band just makes me stop what I'm doing, drop my camera and stare with a gaping jaw. Nugent and his band did just that. They played their hearts out with every note they dropped.
It was somewhat of a spectacle watching what these four guys were doing onstage. I haven't seen a band play with this much intent in such a long time that it was somewhat refreshing.
I'm not sure what I expected walking into HOB last night, but it assuredly wasn't what I received from Nugent and company's performance. I guess I originally went for the humor of it all, but I didn't once laugh once I was there. Yeah, the crowd was just what you'd expect -- probably calling a ranch their home and Duck Dynasty tuned into their televisions on most days -- but they were there because they loved the music. And the music was there.
Of course they played "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold," which closed out the set back to back, but the real magic came from the 15 or so songs they played beforehand. "Gonzo" opened up the curtains with the band illuminated in bright white light and clouded in smoke, while "Wango Tango" was a pulsating 15-minute rocker.
"Turn It Up" did just what its title asked, and the crowd, mostly being men in their mid-fifties with black bowling shirts and rubber-banded ponytails, were raising not only one but both arms in the air in appreciation.
"Free For All" and "Stormtroopin'" were killers, but it was "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang," which Nugent described as "a song for the ladies," that was the hottest of the night. His love for hunting is something he's far from shy about, and that was evident in the tune "Fred Bear," a song about his old friend who was particularly influential in his love for the sport. The show finished with "Great White Buffalo," a fitting closer considering the beautiful white-buffalo guitar Nugent was rocking throughout the song.
Review continues on the next page.