Billy Bob Thornton is a funny guy. His band The Boxmasters treated Reno to a night of jangly, uptempo rock ‘n’ roll on Friday, Sept. 16, and the crowd swayed and clapped along as the musicians rocked with the affable swagger of a weekend warrior bar band.
Songs such as “Kathy Doesn’t Share,” the story of a woman who doesn’t want to engage in a threesome with her husband and another woman, and “I’ll Give You A Ring,” (a song that boasts the response of “when you give me back my balls”) were big hits with the audience. Many of the lyrics drew big laughs.
While his stage presence while singing could be described as minimalist at best, actor/musician Billy Bob Thornton was personable, funny, and downright magnetic as the frontman of the country-rock sextet. A natural born storyteller, Thornton enthralled the crowd between songs with witty banter and anecdotal explanations of the song titles.
The band from Bellflower, California was dressed in suit jackets and button-ups while Thornton was in a hoodie and T-shirt but it didn’t take long for him to explain the juxtaposition.
“This next song is dedicated to the suit I was going to wear tonight,” he explained. “It’s called ‘Beautiful.’ ” The bandmembers laughed as they launched into the tune that was roughly the same tempo and in roughly the same key as the rest of their set but after the tune, Thornton elaborated.
“So I wake up this morning and I have my vitamins, do my stretches, ya know? I do all this healthy shit then I step out for a smoke in my really nice jacket” he says, “and as I step out I notice there’s a bunch of feathers and shit on the ground and I think it’s really weird, like I take note of it, then I light up and a pigeon flies over and takes a shit on me.” The crowd explodes with laughter, “And I swear this bird hadn’t shit in like three weeks,” he continues with a smirk, “so obviously my clothes are in the wash.”
Later in the set he dove into the band’s very opinionated view of music videos.
“We hate music videos, we think MTV really did kill the radio, and we think it distracts from the song, but anyway our label says, ‘Hey, you guys need to do a video’ so we go ‘fine’ and the entire video is us just sitting there on our instruments not playing a thing, not lip syncing, none of that, but here’s the song for that video.”
They aptly performed “What Did You Do Today?” to a polite response from the crowd of about 125. The set continued and eventually ended with “That Mountain.”
Hailing from Napa, California, The Deadlies were fun and appreciative of the opportunity to open for Billy Bob Thorton’s Boxmasters. Dressed in glittery shirts and cut-off sleeves, the three-piece played hits such as “Wipe Out,” “Ring Of Fire,” and “Wild Thing.” While both the guitar playing and tone left a lot to be desired, frontman James Patrick Regan was a neat frontman.