Saturday, August 29, 2015

Colt Ford and Charlie Daniels Band at the State Fair

I will just come right out and say that country music is my least favorite genre. It seems to praise being drunk and ignorant, at least most of the stuff I hear on my local radio station does. There's always been one exception to that rule for me: Charlie Daniels Band. On a road trip to Ohio as a kid, my mom played one of their greatest hits CDs, and by the end of that weekend, I was a Charlie Daniels fan. Charlie can sing, play, and write some great songs. I saw him in concert at the same venue when I was 13 and he blew me away.

Last night, Charlie came by again and I went to see him. His opening act, Colt Ford, is somebody I had never heard of. I may not listen to country, but since I live in Kentucky, I can't help but be aware of who the popular artists are. I saw hordes of girls wearing Colt Ford T-shirts, which led me to assume he was young and/or attractive. When Colt stepped onstage, I immediately saw I was wrong on both counts. He was very overweight with long hair and a beard that could earn him a guest appearance on Duck Dynasty. 

I almost laughed hysterically when he started singing about cruising around getting girls to ride in his pickup because women were rushing the stage to get selfies with him. I guarantee that if they were approached by a man who looked like Colt but wasn't rich and famous and wanted to take them for a ride, they would run screaming in the opposite direction. They might even call the cops.

Lots of tiresome lyrics about huntin' fishin' and muddin'. I also learned that Colt is responsible for one of the most overplayed, terrible songs of the last few years "Dirt Road Anthem." I may not like country, but I still think he has a lot of nerve comparing himself to George Jones. In a different song, Colt compared his feelings for a woman to his love of chicken 'n biscuits, both of which he should probably cut out of his diet if he wants to live a few more years. "I love you like a fat kid loves cake" was not a complimentary sentiment when 50 Cent sang it; making it about different food items and singing it with a Southern twang does not improve upon it. The only song I didn't absolutely hate during his set was his cover of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

When Charlie Daniels hit the stage, the crowd went even wilder, as well they should have; he's a living legend of country music. His set wasn't like what he played back in '03, which featured everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd covers to his own music. Last night's concert consisted mostly instrumental jamming, terrible solo projects his band members wrote, Dylan covers, a Johnny Cash cover, and a drum solo that went on entirely too long. Charlie did play a handful of his standards: "Long-Haired Country Boy," "The South's Gonna Do It Again," and my all-time favorite "The Legend of Wooley Swamp." The finale was the guaranteed crowd-pleaser "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Even though Charlie is 78 years old and had a stroke a few years ago, the man can still play the hell out of a fiddle and a guitar.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

"Vacation (2015)"

Remaking a classic movie that so many people love and quote is a very risky idea. I tried to keep an open mind, figuring it wouldn't surpass the original but might be a fun new take on the story. The premise is that an adult Rusty, now an airline pilot, wants to take his family on a cross-country road trip to Walley World. His wife Debbie and sons Kevin and James do not want any part of this adventure. With a foreign made rental car called the Prancer standing in for the Family Truckster, the Griswolds hit the road.

Along the way, they stop at Debbie's alma mater Memphis State and visit her old sorority Tri-Pi. Rusty learns that his wife's sorority nickname was Debbie Do Anything. In Texas, they visit Audrey, who is now living on a ranch and married to a local weatherman played by Chris Hemsworth AKA Thor. There are a lot of shenanigans that happen in between Chicago and Walley World.

The good: Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo make a cameo appearance near the end. Christina Applegate as Debbie is a great Ellen to Rusty's Clark. Walley World still looks like a cool place. I thought Rusty's scrapbook spanning all the various movies was a nice touch.

The bad: This movie is guilty of showing the majority of the funniest scenes in the trailer. The actors who played Rusty's sons were obnoxious, which makes it very difficult to enjoy the movie since they're in almost every scene; the younger brother mercilessly bullies the older one. Self-aware jokes like "This will be different. In the original vacation, there was a boy and a girl. We have two boys."

Stick to the Chevy Chase version.