Southern rock met Southern soul and caught on fire on the Which stage Saturday afternoon in a sweaty, soulful set by Booker T. Jones and by the Drive-By Truckers, who leapt into their backing-band role with a smooth ease, except when they took the lead, when they blew the roof off the place.
Billed as "Booker T. and the DBTs," Jones and company delivered tracks from his new "Potato Hole," his first solo record in 15 years and one full of soul-drenched instrumentals. "Native New Yorker" and "Pound It Out" took care of the head-nodding rock; "She Breaks" was all subtle, sweet melody that Jones dedicated to the women in the crowd.
But the Truckers can't be contained, and the set left space for fire-breathing DBT selections like Patterson Hood's Molly Hatchet-referencing teenage biography "Let There Be Rock," which actually never gets old, ever; the Mike Cooley-led "Zip City" and the Shonna Tucker-sung "Home Field Advantage." But it was the set-closing one-two punch of "Hey Ya" (which the crowd recognized in a very pleasing wave, and quickly issued its approval) and "I Can't Turn You Loose," from the days when Jones and DBT frontman Patterson Hood's father, David, were turned loose on the Muscle Shoals soul scene. Circle of life. - Jeff Vrabel