Saturday, September 13, 2008
It's no secret I'm a big fan of Alejandro Escoveda, the Austin-based artist with deep roots in the Bay Area, and a musical pedigree that spans mariachi, punk and Americana and made to sure to get tickets to his Bimbo's performance on Friday. His band is great, and at 57 years old and a few years past a near-death experience with Hepetitas, Esoveda plays (and looks) like he's decades younger. The man is happy to be alive and not about to waste the moment at hand. Given that he co-wrote his latest Cd "Real Animal" with San Francisco's own Chuck Prophet, the show was a joyful homecoming of sorts, Escoveda giving longish introductions to each of the songs from the disc which serves as a song-cycle about his life in music, a lyrical narrative about playing in the somewhat accidental punk band The Nuns, staying at the Chelsea Hotel circa Syd&Nancy, reverring Iggy Pop and his "brother lost soul/sister lost soul' musicians that didn't survive the age.
Having recently played a song from the disc "People" at the Democratic National Convention, Escoveda is in fighting form. He may be from Texas, but he too is happy the current president is leaving office. "Me and Hector [Escoveda's drummer Hector Munoz] are going to build a wall around Texas to keep him out. That's Latino Homeland security." That said, the night also featured a performance of the tune "Castenets" which he recently put back in his set list after a three year hiatus. When in 2005, it appeared on the iPod playlist of George W. Bush Escoveda placed a self-imposed ban on live performances of the song. Esteemable songwriting aside, Escoveda simply loves to play and was not above closing out the night with a cover, in this case the Stones' "Beast of Burden." Did we leave smiling? Yes.
As it was, it had been a tw0-club night. Neighbor Derrick Lassiter opened a bill at Red Devil Lounge, his first show in a while, and I was able to catch 2/3 of his set. Mixing r&b flavored covers with originals, and backed by drums, guitar and violin, his voice sounded smooth, strong great. Perhaps he too will do a new recording soon? (given most people I know right now are recording, mixing or releasing new efforts!).