Call them alt-country. Call them roots rock. Call them southern rock if you must. Doesn’t matter. Drive-By Truckers are a plug-it-in-and-turn-it-the-fuck-up kind of band.

The stage set for the Truckers’ current Go-Go Boots tour features two back lit stain glass windows with inlays of the band’s familiar Cooley Bird logo; behind drummer Brad Morgan’s kit is a oversized bass drum painted in stain glass style and featuring a large cross bearing the words “Go-Go Boots.” The religious overtones of this show are heavy from the beginning. Hailing mostly from North Alabama and getting their start in Athens, Georgia, the Truckers’ music has always fearlessly embraced the conflicts of southern pride and political progressiveness, all while wrestling with the inherent burden of the fallen human in the domain of God and the Church. If Robert Johnson really did sell his soul to the Devil, then maybe the latter day original sin of rock & roll is playing in a band at all, and maybe this is the wellspring of haunting gloom, guilt, and rock exultation at a Drive-By Truckers show. This is a band that plays like it is in search of redemption, with the apparent belief that the only path to righteousness is an arduous journey through the sweaty valley of rock & roll. And if that’s the case then, shit: might as well play a lot of it.

The Drive-By Truckers have built a road-warrior reputation for marathon rock shows that tax every ounce of energy from the band and the crowd alike, and Saturday night at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, New Jersey was no exception. Opening with “Carl Perkin’s Cadillac,” Mike Cooley’s ode to 1950’s Memphis rockabilly, and following that with a bright and loose “Feb 14,” the show’s beginning saw the band stretching their legs, warming their fingers, and getting comfortable on stage. Things got serious with “Where the Devil Don’t Stay.” The opening track on the band’s gritty 2004 album, The Dirty South, this song darkened the mood, enlivened the band’s three guitars, and took the show into the spookiest and most exciting regions of the Truckers’ world. “Go-Go Boots,” the haunting title track off the band’s brilliant new album followed, with John Neff’s slide guitar and Patterson Hood’s pulpit presence steering the show deeper into the depths of the North Alabama Muscle Shoals swamp, where neither the Devil nor the eyes of the Church stay.

Now the rock & roll revival meeting could begin.

The Chuck Berry boogie-woogie blues of Cooley’s “Get Downtown” kicked the party off in fine fashion, swinging at a blistering pace as each band member’s play urged the others to keep up. Jay Gonzalez provided the bounce as he pounded his keys and Hood, as he would all night, beat on his guitar as he moved around the stage to each of his band mates, coaxing more and more energy out of them, leading by the example of his already sweat-soaked shirt. With the exception of bassist Shonna Tucker’s lilting and lovely “Dancin’ Ricky,” Hood and Cooley—the band’s primary song writers—would trade songs all night, but it was Hood who was the master of revels, at once leading the band to new heights and making damn sure the crowd went with them. During Cooley’s rockers, he would test the limits of his Gibson SG while guiding the band’s romp, and during his own dark country-soul dirges like the gorgeous “Ray’s Automatic Weapon,” or “Used to be a Cop,” he would be the power-vocalist at the microphone, commanding a presence like a preacher full of fire and brimstone.

If Hood plays the Bible-beating preacher in the pulpit, Cooley is the kid smoking cigarettes in the Church basement. Tall and thin behind his Telecaster-style custom guitar, Cooley’s play was tight and aggressive. He often moved beyond the monitors to the front of the stage (and apparently beyond the reaches of the Wellmont’s spotlights) to pound his foot and bend his notes all that much closer to the crowd who responded to every move. The interplay of Hood and Cooley that in many ways powers this band, drove this show to the heights it reached. They traded songs like two kids playing catch, getting further and further away, throwing the ball harder and harder, always challenging the other to step up his game. After one man’s song ended, the band looked to the other, who quickly unleashed the opening chords or riff of the next tune. Working without a set list, the energy of spontaneity fueled the show, and the juxtaposition of Hood and Cooley gave it depth and texture.

Cooley’s “Shut Up and Get on the Plane” closed the main set in loud, triumphant fashion, with the band wailing on their instruments in search only of a glorious racket, and a five-song encore dared the Wellmont’s crowd to test their stamina into the wee hours of the morning. The show closed with an exultant “Let There Be Rock” leading into “Zip City” and finally the powerful and cathartic “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy.” Two and a half hours after the Truckers had taken the stage, with the band having outlasted some of the crowd in true road warrior fashion, the revival meeting came to a close with the power, grit, and anger of the fallen human screaming back into the face of the society that would dictate the depth and dimensions of joy. This may not be the path to redemption, but the Drive-By Truckers may very well have resigned themselves to the interminability of the hunt for such a thing, if it should in fact exist. Awash in the power and angst of such a realization, Saturday’s show at the Wellmont reveled in the wandering. If we can’t find salvation, the Truckers seem to say, we might as well make a whole lot of glorious noise while we look.

For the sake of our own souls, let’s hope that redemption is a long, long way off for the Drive-By Truckers.