Cowboy Mouth / Columbia, SC / 12-05-2003

“We may not be the most famous band in the world, but we are the best band” proclaimed Cowboy Mouth frontman/drummer Fred LeBlanc. He was right. For 90 minutes, Cowboy Mouth was the only band that mattered. Their hi octane performance was led by LeBlanc who often brought the songs down to a vamp in order to whip the crowd into a frenzy with his Jack Black like love of “the rock.” The usually stale Columbia audience let loose and were jumping up and down with fists raised into the air. There was even crowd surfing. That is, until said surfer crashed right into LeBlanc’s drum kit. The band stopped playing “Everybody Loves Jill” and jokingly talked trash to the kid before launching right back in and finishing without really missing a step.

LeBlanc wasn’t the only one who led the crowd during the night. Texas Hall of Fame guitarist John Thomas Griffith sang lead a few times in addition to being the resident guitar hero. The crowd even burst into spontaneous chants of “JTG” several times to show their love. Rhythm guitarist Paul Sanchez was all over the place including the wall separating the stage from the bar area. He also sang the crowd favorite “Hurricane Party,” which induced the crowd into throwing hand fulls of tootsie rolls at the band everytime the chocolate treat was mentioned. This brought a smile to the faces of the Cowboys who later remarked that they should cancel their show in Jacksonville the following night in order to stay in Columbia.

The band played mostly material from their last few albums including a few tracks from their latest album “Uh Oh.” They did a rocking version of “Disconnected” (which was recently played live on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn) before ending with their biggest hit “Jenny Says.” For this song, Leblanc selected members of the audience to join the band on stage as their “Cowboy Mouth Solid Gold Dancers.” The fans kept piling on until half of Columbia was on the small New Brookland Tavern stage. The fans danced and jumped up and down for the entirety of the 10+ minute jam.

The Cowboys seemed genuinely surprised by their reception. Leblanc thanked the crowd repeatedly and promised that Cowboy Mouth would return to Columbia soon. I only hope they keep their word.

-Benji McKay