A Perfect Evening In Singer-Songwriter Heaven
I thought I knew what to expect from an Alejandro Escovedo performance because I have attended several of his shows, but this show at Shalin Liu Performance Center exceeded any expectations I may have had!
This was as close to a perfect show as I have attended, due to both the performances and the venue (which is spectacular).
Alejandro has had a long career (so far), starting as a punk rocker and morphing into alt-country, cowpunk, and Chicano rock. I am a relatively recent fan of his, having seen him for the first time merely three years ago.
The previous shows I saw were full-band shows but this show was Alejandro on guitar and vocals with Matt Fish on cello. Not only was this a fabulous combination of instruments, but Alejandro and Matt have an obvious musical chemistry that showed in their faces all evening. When Matt played a soulful melody, Alejandro grinned with pleasure. Matt hardly took his eyes from Alejandro’s. It was a joy to behold.
And the music. I knew many of the songs on the evening’s set list, but they felt much more intimate and personal performed by an acoustic duo in this space. Alejandro introduced most songs with a story. He told of his father making the journey from Mexico to Texas to find his parents… and of his friendship with Sid and Nancy… and of being one of twelve children, eight of whom are musicians… and of his grandmother.
Then there’s his voice. Sometimes it is smooth and rich as caramel, other times it is altered by a second mic. His lyrics always shine. I think this configuration suits Alejandro; it highlights how much of a connection he forges between his music, his audiences, and himself.
I am terrible at remembering song titles, and there was no printed set list to help job my memory. They played ‘Sister Lost Soul’ and ‘Sally Was a Cop’, to name two. Even when Alejandro had a momentary brain cramp on some lyrics (I can relate to that), we laughed right along with him.
Toward the end of the set, Alejandro and Matt unplugged and came into the audience to play two songs, one from each side of the room. The venue is so good that I could hear every note and word.
Alejandro may now be based in Dallas (Austin having become too expensive for musicians to live comfortably), but his music has the same vibe as always. Matt is based in California (I believe he said San Francisco). Alejandro is performing a number of similar shows early next year, mostly with more strings accompanying him. Matt will perform at some of those shows.
Opening the show was local singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick. I saw her perform only once about six years ago, and am glad to see she is still a performing artist (as well as a songwriting professor at Berklee College of Music).
Completely at ease in front of an audience, she mentioned growing up only a few miles from the venue and how thrilled she is to be able to perform there. She played songs mostly from her latest release, Melissa Ferrick, although she has a fairly large discography. I am excited to dig into that album.
Melissa delivered one of the funniest quips I have heard! As she was tuning her guitar, she joked that she was her guitar gets mad at her at music festivals because it can see the trees and they get sunshine and water!
This evening was as close to perfect as I believe a concert can be. The music was amazing. The venue is incredible. Talking with Alejandro, Melissa, and Matt after the show was inspiring. Hanging out with friends, some of who I expected to see, another I went with, and another who was unexpected.
Thanks to Alejandro Escovedo for the ticket; all opinions are my own.
Posted on November 24, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Alejandro Escovedo, boston, Chicano rock, concert photos, concert review, cowpunk, Matt Fish, Melissa Ferrick, Rockport, Shalin Liu Performance Center, singer-songwriter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.