I know of at least a handful of locals counting down to tonight's Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers show at the Top Hat. There's the family that hopefully still lives on a nearby ranch, friends of Clyne's who happened to be mentioned in a band documentary years ago. Then there are the inevitable Arizona transplants who know this long-established Tempe band for its jam-packed shows in both dive bars and arenas, the former being the best venue to catch a group known for its love of Mexican Moonshine. A few in attendance may sport some old-school Refreshments T-shirts, that being the better known iteration of the band—Clyne and drummer P.H. Naffah enjoyed some mainstream success with songs like "Down Together" and "Banditos," and did the theme song to TV's "King of the Hill." (Brief history: The band signed with Mercury Records in '96, and did pretty well, but not well enough. They bolted, renamed, and have been independent ever since, by choice, and do cool things like offer a download of their bigger hits, for free.) And then there are a few people I've managed to turn onto the band/drag to shows because Clyne and Co. are the sort of blue collar, good time, good humored, "Southwestern sound" rock band that deserves to play in front of as many people as possible.
Here's the problem: It's never really worked in Missoula. For whatever reason — Tuesday night bills, maybe? — big crowds don't happen. Lively? Sure. But two years ago, also on a Tuesday night, the band drew about 75 to The Other Side. I happened to catch them the next night in Butte, and a couple hundred cheerfully blotto men and women (women, especially, seem to like Clyne) packed the Butte Depot for a Tempe-like show. I'm not calling anybody out, I'm just sayin'.
Bottom line: If you come, it'll be a good time. If not, more tequila for the rest of us.
Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers play the Top Hat Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 8 pm. $20/$16 in advance from brownpapertickets.com.