Montgomery Gentry electrifies fair
"Conventional" often can be a code word for "boring," but sometimes conventional is just fine. Country duo Montgomery Gentry brought their thoroughly conventional, honky-tonk country music to the Red River Valley Fair on Thursday night. It was a ...
"Conventional" often can be a code word for "boring," but sometimes conventional is just fine.
Country duo Montgomery Gentry brought their thoroughly conventional, honky-tonk country music to the Red River Valley Fair on Thursday night. It was a prime example of run-of-the-mill material redeemed by showmanship and energy.
Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry don't do anything startling. They're like a lot of country duos: two guys who look nothing alike singing songs about drinkin', lovin', losin' and the joys of small-town life. A Montgomery Gentry CD isn't much different from others recorded by the average hat act (or, in the case of a duo, a one-guy-with-a-hat-one-guy-bareheaded act).
Judging from Thursday's show, a CD isn't the best way to get the Montgomery Gentry vibe. You pretty much have to be there.
Montgomery is the showman of the pair. Decked out in a black broad-brimmed hat - it looks like something The Joker would wear if he were Amish - and a black duster over a black T-shirt and pants, he cuts a striking figure. He's tall and well-built but surprisingly graceful onstage. For most of Thursday's show, his face was split by a broad grin.
He's also hyperkinetic, dancing across the stage, brandishing the microphone stand as a prop, tugging on the brim of his hat and the lapels of his coat. When he's singing about something naughty, he holds his index fingers up alongside the crown of the hat in devil's horns.
Gentry, by contrast, is nearly colorless. He is more the musician, playing a serviceable guitar and mandolin.
Their voices are nothing special, although given the material you don't expect Pavarotti. When either solos, the voice isn't more than adequate. But interestingly, when they harmonize, the blend is more than the sum of its parts.
After an energetic set by warm-up act 32 Below, Montgomery Gentry took the stage to their hit "Gone," propelled by a driving beat. That beat kept up for most of the show, which could've been a bit of a problem; there wasn't much variety in the pacing. But the beery, amped-up Red River Valley Fair crowd obviously hadn't come to hear ballads. They wanted to party and, judging by the number of people dancing, they did.
One of the show's best performances was on "Scarecrow." As Gentry played an amplified mandolin, which sounded more like a rock guitar, Montgomery did a loose-limbed dance just behind him.
Montgomery gave an odd twist to "Something to be Proud Of," a song that praises simple pleasures. He again twirled his microphone stand, turning a song of gentle sentiments into another country rave-up.
They ended the main portion of the show with "My Town," which probably made much of the local crowd flash on RedHawks manager Doug Simunic, who mouthed the chorus' most well-known line for a team television commercial.
A three-song encore showed off more of the band's musical chops, with Gentry playing some nifty guitar - and Montgomery using his partner's guitar as bongos.
Concertgoers have a right to expect more than they'd get off a CD, and Montgomery Gentry delivered. There were no surprises, but then there were no disappointments, either.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Pantera at (701) 241-5541