Cash’d Out

Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo, Dec. 8

The upstairs open-air venue was buzzing with boxing fans left over from a Pacquiao-Marquez fight viewing party as the Johnny Cash cover band took the stage. Front man Doug Benson re-enacted the opening of Live at San Quentin, announcing “Hello, we’re Cash’d Out” before launching into “Folsom Prison Blues.”

From there, things fell right in line, as the San Diego band played for nearly three hours, taking out and polishing off almost every nugget of the early Cash repertoire. Benson didn’t impersonate so much as embody the music legend, and his spot-on vocal inflection seemed to be his natural speaking voice. Guitarist Kevin Manuel channeled the nuanced twang of guitarist Luther Perkins. Stand-up bassist Ryan Thomas and drummer George Bernardo kept the classics thumping along with a rockabilly backbeat that had more than a few couples dancing (as well as one blissfully inebriated guy cutting a rug with a chair). At one point Manuel climbed up on Thomas’ bass while playing a guitar solo. Cash’d Out ran through hits, from “Cocaine Blues” to “A Boy Named Sue” to “I’ve Been Everywhere.” They engaged the audience with banter, made eerie coming from Benson’s deep baritone voice. When a couple requested Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” Benson humbly replied, “Sure, we can fuck that one up for you, too.”

★★★★☆

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