Burny’s Upper Deck, Maryville, Missouri April 29 2023 by Kim Pool
I was at a local bar called Burny’s on a Friday night back in March when something caught my eye from behind the counter. On the side of the fridge where beers and energy drinks dwelled inside, a black-and-white silhouette of a man in a tilted cowboy hat and sunglasses stared back at me. This sticker of a silhouette looked oddly familiar. . .
I realized it was a band logo I had seen on Facebook a couple weeks before, some band called Quinton Cox & Co. I messaged Quinton and asked if he knew that his logo was on a fridge at Burny’s, and he said that he knew that. In fact, they had played a show there a couple of weeks before and were coming back for another show on April 29.
Indeed a month later, Quinton Cox & Co returned to Burny’s to play some rock-n-roll, country music that electrified the bar’s rooftop.
Quinton Cox & Co started with a group of high school friends. Front man Quinton Cox, lead guitarist Matthew Mulnix, and rhythm guitarist Ben Miles knew each other from high school. Mulnix and drummer Seth Stringham had been in another band together previously. Bassist Colin Nichols joined later.
Cox says that the philosophy behind the band is: “We like to have fun and party; we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
This was a perfect vibe for a college bar that was in need of some country rock and good times just before finals week.
Earlier this year in March, Quinton Cox & Co released an album called Not Your Grandma’s Country Music.
“It’s called Not Your Grandma’s Country Music because it’s all the filthy songs that you don’t want Grandma to listen to,” Cox said in a tone that sounded like he was only half-joking.
Quinton Cox & Co played some songs from that album – opening track “Tulsa,” “Married Women,” and “Plan B.” Their set also included covers from country music and classic rock alike.
The band’s influences range from “everything old school country to Red Dirt to metal music,” namedropping Giovannie and the Hired Guns and Turnpike Troubadours. These different genres give the band an appeal that sounds like it would be fitting for anyone looking to have a good night of good music.
I had gone to the show with the anticipation that it would be a four-hour band show. I thought the idea sounded ambitious, but I was also excited since even big names I have seen like Peter Frampton usually do not play for that long.
As it turns out, it did end up being a four-hour show, but it was in segments: one of the band members would have a solo set, giving the rest of the band a break. Seeing the band members perform on their own provided an opportunity where each individual influence could be heard before it was melted together into the band’s sound.
Rhythm guitarist Ben Miles had the first set. This included a cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” and Elton John’s “Rocketman.” Miles’ performance of these songs kept true to the originals; in the case of “Rocketman” it gave the song an unexpected beauty being played on an acoustic guitar, compared to the piano from the original.
Next up with Quinton Cox & Co’s first full band set. They opened with a few covers before settling into their own groove of originals. The first original song they did was “Tulsa,” and the gate was kicked wide open. Fierce energy, like the heat from a summertime campfire, drifted off from the stage. Who says that country doesn’t have a little rock-n-roll to it?
Another original song the band played in the first set was called “Homewrecker.” This was a song from their 2021 EP All The Sad Ones.
To end their first set, Quinton Cox introduced the last song with a story about a friend posting on Craigslist. The listing was originally for a car, but Quinton Cox had changed it to read ‘Fat Chicks and Ass’. This turned into a song that would be the band’s fifth single. “Fat Chicks and Ass” made the crowd laugh and get up and dance.
For the rest of the night, it alternated between Quinton Cox with Co, and the Co without Quinton Cox. Through the variety of genres flowed excitement.
Lead guitarist Matthew Mulnix did a cover of Say Anything’s “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” and Panic! At the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” Hearing “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” with an acoustic guitar was a surprise, but it’s such a fun song that it fit the set.
As the night went on, the audience started to grow. I looked around me to realize suddenly that I was in a sea of other students, beer, cigarettes, and dancing. The energy that soared from the stage drifted into the audience with the smoke, forming a loop that gave and gave the more it was fed.
About 500 people were on the bar’s Upper Deck singing along with the band, according to a Facebook post Quinton Cox & Co made.
I had been to Burny’s before, but never to a night when they had a show; I have been to dive bars shows where there are only about fifteen people in the audience. So, 500 people was magnificent and astonishing to read the next morning after the show.
In the moment, looking around at the audience around me, the floor was totally packed. One had to squeeze past other patrons, past cans of beer and cigarettes, to get back to the bar for another drink. It was magical in the sense that Quinton Cox & Co had just become a full band in 2022. And now, here they were playing to 500 hundred people on the rooftop of a bar!
Quinton Cox & Co’s wish that their music helped people have a good time was successful. Maryville, Missouri can be a rather sleepy town depending on the weekend, and I feel that Quinton Cox & Co restored some energy that the town desperately needed.
The band had the audience following their every word, whether it was a joke from Quinton or singing along to a classic country song. Somewhere at the intersection of country music, rock-n-roll, comedy, and good times is where Quinton Cox & Co can be found.
Before the show, Quinton Cox told me that after the show, I may walk away with the thought, “You guys should see a therapist.” But I would argue that music itself is a good enough therapy. Quinton Cox & Co certainly gave Maryville some good times that Saturday night.
One could say that their logo of a black-and-white cowboy with a tilted hat and dark sunglasses was an omen. I would agree with them, that it is a good omen representing good times and good music.
I didn’t end up leaving the bar until sometime between midnight and one in the morning, but I know that I left with a smile on my face and good music still ringing in my ears.
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