We'll start with first opener American Princes, whose Yep Roc release Less and Less made Magnet's Best of 2006 list. I've been playing it a lot lately, and I'm impressed. The Little Rock, AR band appear to be the most punk of the three, but songs like "Never Grow Old" have the sort of rollicking vocal lines (Spoon, maybe?) that help them retain their pop sensibilities. And is that Elvis Costello I hear in the exasperated heartbreak of "Copper in Sand"?
American Princes - "Stolen Blues"
Catfish Haven are a lean, mean three-piece out of Chicago. They've gotten their fair share of press - Pitchfork, Spin, CMJ - and it appears well-deserved. They have a real nice feel, sort of opposite side of the bar-band coin from the Hold Steady where you can actually see yourself dancing to it. Lead singer George Hunter has a strong voice too, gravelly and strained but still a little sweet. Their latest, Tell Me, came out last September.
Catfish Haven - "Crazy for Leaving"
Finally, frequent-DBT supporting act Lucero round out the bill. The most-rough hewn, down-home of the three, they've also got the fullest sound and -- to my ear -- the sharpest chops. "What Else Would You Have Me Be?" has tinkling-but-epic (think "Layla") piano behind typically buzzing alt. country guitars, with a young, drunk Bob Seger at the helm. Some will say the Truckers influence is there too, but Memphis's Lucero are just another fine, road-tested Southern band very much in touch with their roots. Get their latest, Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers, here.
Lucero - "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight"
Lucero - "The Last Song"
*American Princes photo by Matthew Martin, courtesy of Yep Roc presskit.