Monday, April 12, 2010

Live review: Cash Bash VII

Posted By on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Cash Bash VII w/ Truckstop Preachers, Jem Crossland & The Hypertonics, The Defilers, South 85, The Go-Devils

April 9, 2010

Puckett's Farm Equipment

Each year, for the last seven, at Puckett's Farm Equipment, the annual Cash Bash has been held and unless you've been there, it's sometimes difficult to describe.

If you have been, then you know what to expect — each night a handful of bands perform roughly 35-minute sets that include at least two Johnny Cash cover songs.

Puckett's, with the Nascar memorabilia on the walls, PBR flowing from behind the bar and sold out crowd soaking in every minute is the perfect place for the event. In fact, it's better off with two sold-out nights instead of moving it someplace larger, losing out on the atmosphere and character of the place.

It's put together each year by the infamous Badger, and he does a helluva job mixing up the lineup, while keeping the entire theme consistent. From the first notes that ring out until the final drips of beer go down the throat, Cash Bash is definitely one of those "you have to be there" events, and this year was no different.

I only attended the first night this year, but Cash Bash got off with a bang. I walked in to see the final notes of opening band The Go-Devils and had just enough time to settle in before South 85 made their Cash Bash debut.

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Their set was heavy with cover songs, but the band's country style was a welcome change-up to the usual rockabilly and honky tonk vein of the event. Female vocals singing Cash songs gave them a new flair, so to speak, and the band showed why it's won a Charlotte Music Award or two — fun to watch, solid musical abilities and strong vocals and harmonies.

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The Defilers were up next and were just happy to have made it. Two blown tires on the way to Charlotte nearly derailed their efforts, but the band hit the ground running and made every moment on stage count.

One of the great things about the Cash Bash is that bands aren't simply performing a set and saying, "Oh yeah, we have to play a Cash cover, so here it is." They're giving it their all and when a Cash song comes along, it fits right in with the rest of what they're doing and they keep on cruising.

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Some, like Jem Crossland & The Hypertonics, give the songs their own stamp instead of just trying to perform it more like a cover. Crossland infused more of a rock style into his covers that didn't take away anything from Cash, but helped them fit more into his set.

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The night closed with headliners Truckstop Preachers, a band that has fit that spot on the bill for a few years now. If you've seen the Preachers before, you know what to expect, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. Singer Nathan Palmer usually holds up a large cutout of Cash while performing his songs.

I'll be honest here — I didn't take notes, I didn't write down song titles, and I didn't take many pictures. This time around, I was more there to enjoy the night and just soak in the entire vibe of the event without distractions, from more of a fan's perspective. I've said it before and I'll say it every year, it's a shame that it's only held once a year, but each day we're one step closer to the next one.

Can't wait that long? Some of the same bands will be playing at Puckett's for ElvisFest on May 8.

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