When Jason Isbell announced that he was leaving Drive-by Truckers to work on his own material, I was looking forward to seeing what would come next. I am a huge fan of the Truckers and his songs are some of the highlights of their catalog.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit-4

His solo album, Sirens of the Ditch, came out last year and immediately earned a place in my heavy rotation. The album stands up well against “Outfit,” “Decoration Day,” and other songs from his Truckers years. I had missed Jason and the 400 Unit when they came to New York last year. They returned this past Tuesday night, playing to a not quite sold-out Bowery Ballroom. While they may not have the sheer brute force of DBT — few bands do — this is a tight outfit and fit Jason’s music perfectly.


The ninety-minute set had a nice balance between songs from “Sirens” and a number of songs that he wrote for the Truckers, although “Outfit” didn’t make the setlist, much to my disappointment. “Goddamn Lonely Love” and “ Kind of Actress” were standouts.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit-9

Near the end of the set, the band was joined by Eleanor Whitmore, the fiddle player from opener Will Hoge’s band. She was on-stage for one of the highlights of the night: a sweet cover of “Into the Mystic.”

Where a DBT show is raucous and brash, one that leaves you with barely enough energy to get yourself home, last night’s show was a more intimate affair. No big light show, no frills — just a tight set by one of the best songwriters on the scene today. I’m glad I didn’t miss him this time around.

View the rest of the photoset on Flickr.

and the 400 Unit
,
February 21, 2008

Setlist:
Grown
Try
Chicago Promenade
Danko/Manuel
Kind of Actress
Goddamn Lonely Love
Decoration Day
*
Into the Mystic*
ENCORE
I Don’t Want To Fight**
Assassin
Never Gonna Change

*With Eleanor Whitmore
** Cover, with Will Hoge


Previous article10,000 Lakes Festival | 2008 Lineup Announced
Next articleSasquatch! 2008 Lineup Announced