On any given weekend, the musical choices in the Reno-Tahoe area might seem overwhelming. There’s always something for fans of country, or rock, or the blues, or rap, or even punk and heavy metal.
In fact, given the proper motivation, a fan of each of these styles could probably drive around Reno, from club to club, and bar to bar, and soak up a few songs from each genre on the same night.
Or, they could just go see Hank 3.
That’s right. Shelton Hank Williams – aka Hank Williams III, but more commonly known these days as Hank 3 – is coming back to Reno, and he’ll be putting on a show that pretty much defies categorization.
In fact, he outright rejects being categorized, just as strongly as he disdains the pop-country style that dominates so much of today’s music charts.
So if you’re expecting a simple evening with the man who put the “Dick in Dixie,” to quote one of his songs, you can pretty much kick your cold, cold heart right out onto the street. And the fact he’s playing near the foot of the Reno Arch couldn’t be more appropriate because, well … what an arch this evening will be:
- First, let’s face the obvious. He carries the name Hank Williams, and the ground-breaking music created by his grandfather serves as the blueprint for just about every decent country song written ever since. So, an evening with Hank 3 always begins with a lengthy set of his own critically acclaimed country songs that include a nod or two to at least one Hank that came before him.
The similarity in their appearance, and even in their voices, is striking. One could easily envision Hank Sr., if he had lived past the age of 29, singin’ along with his grandson on hard-living, honky-tonkin’ tunes like “Pills I Took.”
By the way, this part of the show takes two hours.
- After that, well, you might want to set aside the urge to yell for an encore of “Kaw-Liga,” because Hank 3 is about to rock. The next 30 minutes or so will be dedicated to the punk-rebelcore music style showcased in his album “A Fiendish Threat.” As the evening begins the bend from country toward metal, get ready for a steady diet of garage-style punked-up rock with some fiddle and country-type lyrics thrown in for good measure – all this from a man who was a drummer in a punk band long before he ever stood on a stage and sang a Hank Williams Sr. song.
- After that, hold onto your hat (assuming you didn’t toss your Stetson after the first set), because, to quote Hank 3’s own website, “the lights go down and the volume goes up” for about another hour as his band Attention Deficit Domination plays heavy doom metal.
- Finally, there will be another half hour of music from his 3Bar Ranch/Cattle Callin’ project. The best way to describe this music, (from one of four wildly varied albums he released on the same day in 2011), is cowboy rap featuring cattle auctioneers backed by various noise and beats and rhythms.
Do the math – that’s four hours right there, and that doesn’t take into account Hank 3’s legendary interaction with the crowd (one reviewer noted “I was at a show, people kept handing him shots of whiskey and he didn’t refuse a single one.”)
As reviewer Steve Leggett wrote in his review of “3” for allmusic.com, “This guy’s a maverick, which isn’t a bad trait for a musician, unless one wants to find steady work in Nashville. Hank 3 obviously couldn’t care less about that.”
In that regard, you might say he really is carryin’ on an old family tradition – while starting a few new ones as well. And that seems to be the biggest tradition of all when you’re born with the name Hank Williams.
An Evening with Hank 3
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4
Where: Knitting Factory Concert House, 211 N Virginia St, Reno
Tickets: $19, general admission”Phone: 775-323-5648