Review 7-16-11 Maryville, TN

Blurry photo of Max and Dave

The Gourds at The Shed
by Naomi
July 16, 2011

If you’ve been paying attention, you’d already know that there is no such thing as a bad Gourds show. Given that, I wasn’t going to bore you all with yet another Gourds rave review, but I saw them Saturday night at The Shed and the whole experience was too much fun not to share.

The Shed is an outdoor venue connected to the Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson dealership there in Maryville (correctly pronounced “MURR-ville”), Tennessee. It’s under a big tin roof and you bring your own chairs. I thought it was gonna be godawful hot but, miraculously, the temps had cooled off and we even had a breeze so, you know, perfect night to be outside, drinking beers (Shiner Bock!), eating barbecue, and dancing to The Gourds. Didn’t get a great picture of the venue (Shiner Bocks) but there are some here that are better than any I could have taken with my phone. Along with some fine video.

Aside from the Harley dealership, The Shed is also connected to an outstanding barbecue shack where you can get pulled pork, brisket, and a full rack of baby back ribs. Also some pretty darn good onion rings. They got some real nice porta-potties in back – stay away from the one on the middle left or you might have some trouble getting out. Kinda fun, if you’re not the one who’s stuck. And they got this itty bitty toilet over near the bbq stand. So cute.

The crowd at a Gourds show is always fun (I’ve maybe been to a few shows in several states) but you can’t beat The Shed for eccentricities. As my sister-in-law described it to me, you got your bikers, your music fans, your old folks (even older than we are!) that bring their lawn chairs to every show regardless of who’s playing. your young people all dressed up for their first dates, and even the hippie chick in the teeny tiny chair (ok, we brought her which is why she wouldn’t let me take a picture and post it here). As every one knows, biker audiences are never boring. This was a particularly friendly and polite group of bikers but still fun.

Before the show, we wandered over to inspect the Gourds van and maybe sneak a couple pictures – very luxurious compared to some band vans I’ve seen (cough, cough – The Drams). Max Johnston (fiddle, mandolin player extraordinaire) generously offered to let us climb in and smell it. So we did. He said it had aired out some. Um, that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

And I was too tongue-tied when we spoke with Max to tell him that his song “Jesus Christ With Signs Following” is one of my all-time favorite songs. But he did play “Best of Me” later on and that was awful damn good, too. You gotta love that guy, he plays pretty much ALL the instruments and only wrote a few of the songs, but every one of his songs is a masterpiece.

I’d say maybe a third of the audience was made up of pre-existing Gourds fans and the rest were virgins. The Gourds were in prime form, even ending with “Gin and Juice” and the deflowered all left well satisfied with the experience and eager to come back for more. . . .


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