– Words and Photos by Ronnie Jackson –
Texas Hippie Coalition (Gas Monkey Live – Dallas, TX) Friday, March 20, 2015
I have had the pleasure of attending and photographing plenty of Texas Hippie Coalition shows over the past several years. They always put on a good show and seem to have a very loyal following. Their brand of Red Dirt Metal as they call it, is nothing new to me. However, this night would be the first time I had seen them as the headlining band. In the past, the shows I’ve attended have always found them being a supporting act. So I was heading into the venue with a bit of excitement to watch them perform a full 90-minutes.
When I arrived at Gas Monkey Live, it was clear who was playing that night by all the Texas Hippie Coalition merchandise being worn. A fact that Big Dad Ritch noticed and said, “Look at all my shit”. He prefers to call it THC paraphernalia and makes sure that all the proceeds are used only for weed, whiskey, and women. The “Coalition” was in full force and the place was packed.
As the band was preparing to take the stage, fans caught a glimpse of them backstage and began chanting, “THC! THC! THC!” Moments later, Big Dad Ritch and company hit the stage hard with “Hands Up”, which is a powerful opening song that had everyone on their feet with fists in the air. They would follow that one up with another song off the Peacemaker album called “8 Seconds”, before taking a huge five-song slice out of the new Ride On album.
With a 90-minute set, it afforded Big Dad Ritch plenty of time to tell stories and interact with the crowd between songs. This is something he took full advantage of, and this man has no shortage of good stories. It wasn’t just your normal rehearsed banter from a front man, these seemed real, genuine and off the cuff. Everything from family and touring to poking fun at the other band members, as well as drinking, women and weed was discussed. The crowd really seemed to enjoy this. At one point, he told a story about his dad. How he was always his protector and kept him out of trouble. He told everyone that, “Your dad is one of the most important people in the world,” and if yours was still living, to give him a call that night to tell him you love him. This led to dedicating the song “Ride On” to his father.
Each member was then introduced. John Exhal, the bass player is a beast on the stage. As a photographer, I love his tenacity and interaction with the crowd. At times, you would think he was the front man. I love it. Cord “Getcha” Pool is one of the newest members of the band and ripped into a small guitar solo. When he finished, the crowd went wild and all the band members just shook their head and looked at him with a smile. Feeling like that wasn’t enough, and the crowd wanted more, he happily ripped it up for a few more minutes, all the while never wiping that smile off his face. Next, it was Timmie Brauns turn to show us his stuff on the drum kit. All the lighting focused in on him while he hammered down for a 5-minute drum solo.
Family seemed to be one of the prevailing thoughts of the night. Many of their wives, children and other family members were present side stage for this show. As the house lights turned toward the crowd, Big Dad shouted, “Look at all my other family members! We are all one big, huge family! “ “Any Outlaws out there tonight?!” he shouted, as they launched into “Outlaw”
Another funny moment was when he asked what everyone thought about Gene Simmons. A short story followed. A statement of “If I ever meet that son of a bitch, I’m gonna bust him right in the mouth”, led them right into “Rock Ain’t Dead”. That song had huge crowd participation with everyone singing the chorus, “Rock Ain’t Dead, it’s just in rehab”.
Six more songs to go and then they concluded the night with “Pissed Off and Mad About it” from their 2008 Pride of Texas album. Friends and family joined them on stage to help out with that one. It was one huge party up there to finish the night off with a bang.
As always, they hung around after the show for as long as needed for fans to talk with them, sign autographs, and just have a good time. It was a great night with THC and I would definitely recommend you see one of their shows when they are in your town. You won’t be disappointed.
Monster in Me
Bottom of the Bottle
El Diablo Rojo
Turn it Up
Rock Ain’t Dead
Dont Come Lookin
Pissed Off and Mad About It