The Buck Owens birthday show at Old Ironsides on Saturday was one of those nights that'll be remembered for years for its fun, inventive vibe. A dozen bands or so ponied up to the stage to pay tribute to the late country singer, and the results were totally rollicking and inspired.
It helped, too, that the bar was so packed you had to shimmy sideways just to breathe - that kind of crowded but controlled chaos always adds to the spirit and shared love for music.
Some of the highlights (aside from the Bud Lights we drank to feel more country): Rowdy Kate singer Kerry Carr has one of those pure, country-crooning voices, a la Loretta Lynn.
On the other side of the country-pop continuum, local duo Pets pulled out an amazing version of "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail." Leave it to them to turn a country-and-western standard into a modern, Jesus & Mary Chain-inspired noise-pop song.
And Th' Losin' Streaks, despite a Tim Foster confession that they'd only just practiced their set upstairs in the club office, turned in a short but raucous set that included a trashed-out version of "Act Naturally."
The Devestates with guest Bobby Jordan closed the night and really, if you haven't seen this band yet, you need to. Fronted by Kortnee Randall and Ted Angel, it's a showcase for Sacramento's own George Jones-Tammy Wynette dynamic - a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll and always heartfelt. Also featuring Keith Lionetti on drums and Danny Secretion on bass, the band played sweet versions of "Above and Beyond" and "We're Going to Get Together," plus a medley that included "Wham Bam" and "Cryin' Time."
The only thing missing from the night? The kind of chair-tossing bar fight we always mentally associate with an Owens-esque Bakeserfield bar. Just kidding. ...