Two Tons Of Steel: Live From Gruene Hall
DVD/CD Review By: George
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
Regular readers to CSO will recall Two Tons of
Steel. I reviewed the band’s Vegas album early in 2006.
At the time I wrote: "One of the better acts to land in my CD
player in ages is the Texas-based Two Tons of Steel. These guys
crank. And they do it with a steel-driven sound, propped by tight
harmony and electric energy. Currently enjoying wide and varied
chart placements, Two Tons Of Steel is a band with a history and a
catalog. They also have a measure of fame well regarded in the
Lone Star State. However, this latest album, Vegas, may
just be the honey pot to draw even further-a-field interest."
Well, hang on to your hat; the best just got
better – they now have a live and hard-rockin’ DVD and audio
combo release, Two Tons Of Steel Live From Gruene Hall. And
Recorded at Texas’ famed Gruene Hall on an
equally famed Two Ton Tuesday, this Palo Duro release shows the
band doing what they do so well – entertaining with a charged
mix of amped energy. The music says it all. There’s no over the
top visual extravaganzas, no CMT gloss and gossamer shots; this is
just a band, their music, and a hyped and pumped crowd getting off
on the driven energy from the stage. And it works. As a live
concert this has all the steam of the real thing – all from the
comfort of your beanbag.
Lead singer, Kevin Geil, hat perched low and
guitar slung lower, is a confident and vocally rich lead to his
band mates. Geil loves performing, and it’s an energy that flows
to Dennis Fallon (electric guitar), Ric Ramirez (upright bass),
Chris Dodds (drums) and Denny Mathis (steel, guitar and Dobro).
The crowd, a moving herd of two-steppers and twirlers, add
atmosphere to an event that has seen this band filling the Hall
for over ten years. Now it’s on DVD. And what a party.
The twang thang comes fully catered with a host of
popular cuts, music labeled countrybilly by frontman Geil. The 14
tracks, mostly penned by Geil, include "Vegas",
"Unglued", Maybe I" and personal favorite "Stinkin’
Drunks". They sit comfortably with the Ramones remake,
"Sedated", and the Jim Brim-penned, "Ice Cream
Man" making this a "must-have" package.
Also included is a "behind-the-scenes-on-the
bus-the band singin’ and girls dancin’ documentary. It shows
an up close profile of guys who love what they do, and do what
they love. Two Director’s Cuts -- "Your Kiss" and
"Red Hot" --round out nearly one hour of spirited sweat
and rowdy music.
The package, a charmed insight into Texas music,
showing just what the rest of us a world away is missing, also has
a CD. After seeing the guys gig live, the CD, with several added
tracks, brings a new take on one of the most durable bands doing
Texas dancehalls proud.