This past Saturday I found myself once again at what has become one of my favorite bars in D.C., Hill Country, Penn Quarter’s Texas-themed bar. I was chatting up some of the other patrons in the bar area about a band that was slated to perform there that night. It seemed that many of the folk were rearin’ up for a good concert, though it also seemed like nobody had actually heard the band prior. I wasn’t phased, as I’m always up for live music, and figured like the other people there, that it had to be some sort of good-time Texas-like music genre.
The only thing I knew about the band, The Cheaters, was that according to their bio, they play something they like to call, “Whiskey-fueled, home-fried, Rock N’ Roll.” While I appreciate the clever method to describe a band, it really tells me very little if nothing, about the music genre. Their bio also informed me that the band has toured with numerous household name acts and that they have a number of “critically acclaimed albums.” I may not have known much else about the band, but I assumed I was in for a treat.
Here’s my issue though, with the concert I saw The Cheaters give that night. Unless you tout yourself as a cover band, I don’t expect the concert to have more than a couple cover-songs. But The Cheaters kept them coming. I’d venture to guess that 80% of the music that was performed that evening, were cover songs. I just don’t get it.
Thankfully though, the cover hits were played well, otherwise I would have left before the first set (of three) was up. Not only did the band master these cover songs, but their selection was great too. I tried to keep a list of all the bands they covered, though was “only” able to catch these original artists: The Black Keys, The Beatles, CCR, The Band, The Doors, Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, and Old Crow Medicine Show. Sure, the crowd was soaking up the covers, but I had been looking forward to some original material.
All was not lost though, as The Cheaters did actually treat the crowd to enough original songs to count on your hand(s). In over three hours of music, I only heard something like five to seven original tunes. And these songs were really good! I wish The Cheaters had been more interested in pushing their own music. They were selling all three of their CDs at the show too. I actually had a difficult time deciding on which album to buy (or even all of them) because I didn’t know any of the songs on the albums. How do you think you’re going to sell any CD’s if you don’t play the music from them?
It just perturbed me that this band is so successful from obviously not being a cover band, but they weren’t letting that on, during their stay at Hill Country. I mean, that’s fine if you want to play covers all night long, but then call yourself a cover band and fly with that. I really just got so frustrated with this band, because they are obviously a very talented group of musicians (their bass player was especially noteworthy!).
With that all being said, I would like to share a few of their original songs that I especially like. The Cheaters do hail locally from Baltimore, so hopefully I can see them again and hear more of their own material. For more on the band, check out their website here.
Also, their highly entertaining music video: