Brighton Music Hall
November 26, 2016
Alejandro Escovedo is never shy about his latest recording. At BMH he charged through more that half of his cranked up new disk Burn Something Beautiful. The crowd was solid, the mix not so much. It improved as the night went on but left a few things to be desired.
The ability to set the volume to eleven doesnt mean you should. The crackle of electricity on stage was evident and a 9 or 10 on the knob would have let the music breath. That said, it was a cathartic blast that saw Escovedo get reacquainted with his inner electric guitar.
The band was, as always, up to all demands. Escovedo mostly stuck to rhythm but, his few Lou School solos, dont mince words. In place of a lot of notes there is a tight coil of strum and grind escalation. And, in case you missed the six string point, he brought along Miracle 3s splendid Jason Victor on lead to take care of the fancy stuff.
Escovedo was talkative. Like a lot of artists moving into their sixth decade, his songs like "Chelsea Hotel 78" and "Beauty and the Buzz" take measure of his experience. The gut punch lilt of "Sally Was a Cop" from his excellent last disk, Big Station, looks at the personal cost of cold third world sociopolitics. He talks about Bowie, playing the Rat with the Neighborhoods and the Inn Square Mens Bar with the Del Fuegos. He uses the "Bottom of the World" and the Leonard Cohen cover "A Thousand Kisses Deep" to muse on the inevitable change in Austin, in the people he knows and in Boston.
None of this comes off as maudlin or dreary. Like Burn Something Beautifuls "I Dont Want to Play Guitar Anymore", Escovedo uses the dark to juxtapose the hope inherent in the light, in a great song, in another night with a hot band creating something beautiful to ignite.