With Slappers, Bangers and Certified Twangers, Vol. 2 dropping today, it reminded me I still had a couple concerts worth of photos on my phone I never put on this here world wide web. One of which was American Aquarium from this summer in St. Louis, with Morgan Wade opening.
American Aquarium has become my favorite live act of the last 10 years. It’s really not even a debate for me at this point. And that is a list that includes all the top acts in the genre (or genre-adjacent): Childers, Simpson, Stapleton, Avetts, Bingham, Bryan, etc. For my money, I’m taking what American Aquarium has morphed into the last several years: the best damn live rock band in the land.
As I said the night of this concert, BJ Barham does not sing songs. He attacks the microphone with his soul. And as one of my buddies who came along for their first AA experience said: I’ve never seen someone rock out so hard with an acoustic guitar.
We did the VIP tickets for the first time for this, which included a meet-and-greet, private show and interview session, even though we have met BJ after pretty much every live show we have caught, which is approaching double digits now. The VIP session was well worth the dough. And yes, we wore our customary UNC/Duke shirts just to troll the NC State fan singing his heart out.
I’m tempted to drive to Tulsa for the New Year’s Day Hangover Ball that Cody Canady puts on every year, with BJ appearing solo for the show. At this point in my life, if you have the chance to see BJ live, and don’t, we are not friends, but merely acquaintances.
As for Morgan Wade, she is a budding star. This concert was actually right after she had signed with Sony, something she had not announced yet. In fact, she wouldn’t even tell us the name of her new dog, an Instagram star, because it was Sony, and the deal was not public yet. Plus, I think my wife is a little in love Morgan. I’ll allow it.
Anyway, here are some of the photos from the night. I miss the days I could take my DSLR into about any concert, so these are far from my normal fare. Just some iPhone photos from the front row, stage left.