Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Concert Reviews--G Love and Special Sauce, Albuquerque, NM, October 21, 2005 and Tom Russell, El Paso, Texas, October 23, 2005

A tale of two shows here friends.

My review of the G Love show could be this short--Never spend more than $10 on a show on the recommendations of friends.

However, I might as well talk a little about the shittiness of this show. Now I'm no expert on this guy's music. Obviously, I've heard of him and I've known people who liked him in the past. I was hoping he would be a poor man's Beck. I was not so lucky. This white boy funk-rap thing has pretty limited appeal to me anyway. This is mostly because it is often so poorly executed, as was the case Friday night. It's just not that funky. If I want some damn funky music, I'm going to the George Clinton or Buddy Miles or Sly Stone. Beck works for me because he mixes up his songs well, he's a pretty good songwriter, and he has a flexible and good voice. G Love isn't as good in any of these things.

The songs themselves were atrocious. He had one song with the chorus, "Who's got the weed?" Now let's just say I was in a frame of mind to be interested in such things. But my thought on hearing this was, "Who gives a shit?" Then there was the song with the Yeats-like lyric, "You don't need pussy to have fun, but it sure helps." Now I guess I can't disagree with this statement. But I sure as hell don't need to hear some "song" about it.

Luckily I was not alone in my misery. I had two other friends who had also gone on the recommendation of our other friends and they were equally as annoyed as myself. Even my friends who liked him said it was a bad show. So perhaps on other night, it would suck less. However, as long as he is singing sounds about genitalia, I find it hard to believe it would be likeable.

Thank God for my music equilibrium I went to El Paso to see Tom Russell play Sunday night. Why did I drive 5 hours to El Paso to see a show. Well, if you had heard Tom Russell's music, you would understand. What an amazing songwriter. What a great singer. He is just a wonderful story teller. Songs like "Gallo del Cielo" about a guy who fights this rooster in order to win money so he can buy the land back that Villa stole or "Grapevine", about a guy remembering growing up in Bakersfield (it's sort of about Buck Owens), are just great songs. He does some covers too and I usually don't care for the covers. I figured out why. There are few songs that he can cover that are better than his own songs. Though in the defense of his covers, in "Hailey's Comet", which is about the last days of Bill Hailey, when he was drinking himself to death in Harlingen, Texas, there's a line about Bo Diddley, whereupon Tom Russell and his guitar player Andrew Hardin went straight into "Who Do You Love" and then back into the main song without missing a beat. Very nice. It was also the kind of concert where the artist was playing a bunch of new songs to be released. He did 5 new songs and 4 of them were great. His new album Love and Fear is coming out on Valentine's Day, 2006. You should buy it.

I've previously posted about Tom Russell, wondering if The Man from God Knows Where is the greatest album ever. Seeing him live only reinforces my thoughts about how great he is.

And now my musical equilibrium is restored.