Anyone who stayed up a little past their bedtime last night watching the fourth annual O Music Awards’ live stream was rewarded with a rousing set of roots Americana from Langhorne Slim and the Law, a group of dudes hell-bent on proving that just because a band contains banjos and beards, doesn’t mean said band can’t be punk as fuck.
Drawing from blues, folk, gospel, and pretty much every good sound from America’s baby years, Slim and his band harness the piss and fire of a time before folk music was neutered for mass consumption, before “folksiness” was shorthand for “this restaurant is cooler and pricier than Applebees.” Backed by tinkling keys, upright bass, guitar, and yes, banjo, Slim moved from a shivery falsetto to a raspy belt to a spirited call and response bit, doing everything in his power to create a fully participatory hootenanny. At one point, he beckoned the audience to come closer and dance, and they did. He rocked so hard his hat fell off, and his beard looked like it might. Multi-instrumentalist David Moore played a sick banjo solo. Slim even took a request from hosts the Sklar Brothers, because he’s nice like that. And when he went out into the crowd and cooed “baby I’d do any dirty thing for you-oooooou” at the first half’s finale, everyone looked like they’d just gotten pregnant with his lovechild.
But that wasn’t all! A short water break later, Slim and the Law availed viewers with a clap-along rendition of “Two Crooked Hearts,” followed by the barn burner “I Ain’t Dead,” which started out simply enough, but ended with Slim balancing on the bass drum and wailing like Aretha while everyone sang “I ain’t dead!” louder and louder until they were shouting it. In that moment, they certainly looked alive, but in this world of postmodern ennui, it never hurts to make sure.
Watch the O Music Awards live stream here:
O Music Awards