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Nothing slows down the momentum of Dierks Bentley

House of Blues, West Hollywood, Cal., May 23, 2005

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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The last time Dierks Bentley played the House Of Blues on Sunset, Rodney Crowell was in the audience. And while that esteemed songwriter wasn't in the house tonight, his presence was immediately felt the moment Bentley opened his sold-out show with Crowell's "Ain't Livin' Long Like This." This particular song would have fit in nicely with the rest of the material on Bentley's new "Modern Day Drifter" CD, since his second disc is overtly saturated with songs about burning rubber, burning the candle at both ends and just plain burning too hot to handle.

Bentley also appeared a little thunderstruck by the sudden success of his song "What Was I Thinkin'?" the last time through town - especially with all of those screaming girls in the audience.

Although there was also a notable amount of screaming tonight, Bentley appeared to be much more in control of the situation. The song that exemplified this show best was "Domestic, Light and Cold" because tonight's atmosphere made you just want to throw back a few cold ones, relax and enjoy the country music.

Bentley has an admirable serious side, which is showcased by "My Last Name" from his previous CD. But this evening's set list encouraged the audience to party more and contemplate less. New songs like hit single "Lot of Leavin' left to do," "Cab of My Truck" and "So So Long" helped set the party mode mood for this show.

Bentley's band consisted of a drummer, bassist, guitarist and pedal steel player, as the singer switched often between acoustic and electric guitar. This unit kept it country throughout, and proved that, when it's done right, real country is perfectly suited for party time.

While foot-stomping grooves were the order of the day, Bentley did calm things down briefly for the appropriately titled "Settle for a Slowdown," and also became dead serious with "My Love Will Follow You." But nothing in this set ever completely slowed down Bentley's momentum, nor soured his goodtime demeanor.