Walking into the Crystal Ballroom this Friday night felt like a strange and comfortable homecoming of sort. Having been to more punk rock shows in the late 1990s and early 2000s than I care to count, the Crystal Ballroom has always held a special place in my heart. Really, what’s not to love about a bouncing floor with 1000+ of your closest friends? We were able to get in early enough that the crowd was still spread out; no one having established their “spots” just yet. This allowed for some of the best front-row-center positions that any venue has to offer. The good news – they’ve raised that barricade across the front of the stage that I remember as the cause of many-a-bruised thighs back in my punk rock heyday. The bad news – there is no bad news; this show ROCKED!
The first opener was Pearl. Her big platinum-blonde hair and all black outfit rendered a bit of a Miranda Lambert vibe at first glance. Her massive voice quickly quelled any need for comparison, though. Simply put, girl can sing! Well, Pearl can sing (see what I did there?). Ridiculous puns aside, it’s hard to believe that she is opening and not headlining with the passionate performance that she shared with us. It was incredible to watch a set wherein each and every song left you thinking there was no way she’d have it in her to leave it all out there yet again, but, alas she did. Pearl, you have a new fan.
After what seemed like no time at all, Red Shahan was taking the stage. For lack of a better adjective, meh. Maybe he was doomed having to follow Pearl. Maybe I didn’t give him a chance because I was looking forward to Cody Jinks. Maybe I’ve just heard it before. His voice was nice. His performance was okay, but his bandmates seemed a little robotic. I was left to politely bob my head to the beat (being in the front row I had to at least be polite!) and wait patiently for their set to either pick up or draw to a close. Let’s put it this way; Red Shahan would be fantastic if I went to a bar and was surprised to learn they had live music – who doesn’t love unexpected live music?! For me, he just ended up being the wrong flavor between Pearl and Cody Jinks.
Finally, the main event. The moment we had all been waiting for. The one, the only, Cody Jinks. I admittedly had only listened all the way through his new album a half dozen times leading up to this show. My love of Cody Jinks mostly comes from Spotify knowing me too well and inserting him into most of what I listen to while relaxing on the back porch with my honey. I’ve been to plenty of shows in the past where I’ve almost felt left out, in a sense, not knowing the new songs as well as the old and kicking myself for not “studying” more beforehand. This was not the case on Friday; whoever wrote Mr. Jinks’ set list NAILED IT. They opened with “Must Be The Whiskey”, which instantly caused the inevitable surge forward of everyone in the room. The impeccable crooning quality of Cody Jinks’ voice reverberated above and through all of the *ahem* back up singing that can’t be helped with a song like this one.
His set proceeded with the new, the old, the very old, then back to new – giving all of us a chance to both catch-up and feel connected. I’m no longer as young as I was in the aforementioned late 90s, and one thing I couldn’t have predicted in a Cody Jinks show was the overwhelming urge to dance the proverbial night away. Fun is an understatement, and not quite what I was expecting at a “Texas Country” show. That said, Cody Jinks’ stoic presence on the stage truly gave the sense that he’s been doing this his whole life. That, or he has found what he was made to do. Song after song I kept waiting for a crack in the façade, but it never came.
Finally, as all good things must do, the show drew to a close. One final impeccably timed song for the encore, “Loud and Heavy”. The girl next to me screamed, “LOUD AND HEAVY!” so many times between his “last song” and his encore that I have to believe he was acquiescing as an act of mercy. One more chance to hear his melodic voice. One more chance to dance and sing along. One more chance to be mesmerized by just how pure his talent is. To me it seems that Cody Jinks IS his music, and for one night, we got to be too.
If you are interested in catching Cody Jinks on tour, then check out his website for details and ticket info: HERE! And check out his latest lyric video for his single, “Headcase”!
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