Breaking news: The World’s Greatest Understatement was recorded last week when John Skehan of Railroad Earth told WRGW that the band likes to improvise at live shows. Their concert at Washington DC’s 9:30 Club, occurring only a few days after the statement in question, delivered over two hours of spirited, cohesive, and impressive musicianship. RRE certainly did play recorded favorites, but those tracks were more like guidelines— skeletons on which the band layered meaty muscles of creative, twangy, and fresh material.
New Jersey alt-country rockers Railroad Earth garner a broad spectrum of fans. The (sold-out) 9:30 Club was packed not only with the hip youth of DC, beards flowing gallantly and vintage cowboy boots stomping, but also with middle-aged “real people”: balding dads in Grateful Dead t-shirts and career women gleefully twisting and shouting, shedding the stress of the week’s Department of Transportation woes, keeping up with their younger counterparts. RRE’s preference for improvisation gives them a jam band-esque quality (hence the overwhelming presence of Dead paraphernalia) during their live performances that is not necessarily apparent in their recordings.