If you wanna talk pure rock n’ roll — the kind of rock n’ roll that still scares parents, like it should and was meant to do — you’ll need get the name Bohannons in your lexicon.
The Bohannons hail from Chattanooga, Tennessee, but they venture to the great state of Alabama just enough for me to focus on them. Plus, they deserve it if only for two main reasons (though there are more): their music rules and they are really nice guys.
Now, nice guys or no, you have to bring it to get my attention. If I didn’t know any better and only judged them by their on-stage persona and music, the Bohannons would flat-out scare me shitless: their guitar work is absolutely destructive, somehow a nod to metal and Southern rock anthems in the same breadth.
What I love about this band is the contrast of their live shows to their recordings, especially their most recent album, Unaka Rising, a monster of a studio work in the classic vein of Black Sabbath on some serious speed. Live, the band is full throttle. The lyrics are present, no doubt, but somewhat unimportant live. That’s the bonus that their fans get from knowing their work well enough, though. Their album was created with those previously mentioned elements that somehow escapes being a metal record, and kudos for them. I’m not sure how they did it. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear it all: Southern rock, Eighties indie, Seventies metal.
The point I’m trying to make is a simple one. The Bohannons are heavy; there’s no doubt about that. I encourage you, though, not to let that dissuade you from checking them out this Friday night at Green Bar, where they’ll be paired with Tuscaloosa’s own Crown Imperials (whom I am dying to see live at this point). No, don’t let this talk of their prowess and heaviness make you stay at home. Instead, check out Unaka Rising, which you can hear on their website or Spotify. If you need a starting point, take a moment or three to really dig into “Two Riders,” which mixes the best of the Sixties guitar rock with elements of Dinosaur, Jr. (Note that middle lead guitar manifesto and tell me that Marty Bohannon hasn’t listened to J Mascis.) It’s emotional, fantastic, and moving.
Take into account the feeling that the band puts into their live show, and there would be no reason to want to miss them Friday night. I’ll be there, dreaming of those days I never lived. Luckily, the Bohannons let me go there, if only for an evening.