For their part, Jasmin Kaset and Makenzie Green lobbed their classic spitballs about adventures in arrested development, as well as newer numbers with a more aggressive edge. Their marquee tune “Saving Myself for Jesus” is an X-rated crowd-pleaser for sure, but rises above a novelty song designation through its oblique criticism on a controversial topic: intimate activities for you and your partner that, despite their potential gross and/or demeaning nature, are A-OK with certain socially conservative Christians. Other audience favorites in their catalog have been more party-oriented, but the claws are starting to come out more frequently. Their new homecoming anthem hollers proudly “I’m from here,” poking fun at a potential flood of wannabes attracted by Nashville’s recent acquisition of “it,” while a song about being “confused as a Christian Bob Dylan” put a different light on tangled, potentially abusive relationships.
"It City” remained a theme throughout Bobby Bare Jr.’s set, spanning the full length of his catalog and tailored to his crack backing band of current-generation local aces: Matt Martin on the skins, Matt “Mr. Jimmy” Rowland on keys and Jesse Bates on bass and lap steel. Bare’s work has never sounded much like that of his country-legend father, but the two share a great deal, including a sharp ear and an even sharper wit, no doubt honed by the family’s relationship with Shel Silverstein.
“We sure are glad that you all couldn’t get tickets to The Avett Brothers,” quipped Bare before launching the band into another rock excursion blending equal parts ‘70s country, jazz-rock fusion and psychedelic blues. You can’t throw a dead cat at a Billboard chart without hitting a rock group that mixes and matches genre influences these days, but it’s hard to find a group doing it more competently, and more to the point, more fluidly than this. Some of their contemporaries are so stiff that you sometimes wonder if they actually have any blood inside, but these slightly country-fried cats are the genuine article, and we were more than happy to stick around for the encore. Grimey’s/Basement co-proprietor Mike Grimes, Bare’s guitar-slinging counterpart on the first Bare Jr. record, was not on hand, but the roof-raising “You Blew Me Off” was a worthy salute.