It's Thursday night, at the Continental Club, and the air-conditioning is struggling to keep up with the hot June night and the constant stream of people through the door, coming in hours early to get a spot for Alejandro Escovedo's midnight show. It is the first night of a multiple-day CD release party celebrating the release of Real Animal.
I find a cool spot, under a ceiling fan. My cell phone seems to be vibrating. No text, no call? When I pick up my vodka tonic I realize everything in the room is vibrating in response to the sound pulsing from the stage.
Dustin Welch and the House Band are rocking, straight up rock and roll with a southern accent. There are seven people on stage: drums, bass, guitar, guitar, guitar...and violin. The variety and range, including the stunning Celtic sounds of the wartime ballad "Green Badge," make me know that I'll be going out specifically to see this band again soon. Watching Tricia Keefer, I wonder if there is an official award category for "best rock violin."
After Dustin's set, there is another sound check, and the stage is carefully prepped with set lists, clean towels, and lots of water. Out back, The show is infused with a welcome home vibe as friends greet old friends in the audience and in the band.
When everything is in order, club owner Steve Wertheimer takes the stage to introduce the band. He is also celebrating clearing one of the hurdles in achieving Historical Landmark status for the fifty-year-old club. Alejandro Ecsovedo has been a significant part of that history, playing on this stage for at least twenty-five of those years.
The band takes the stage, formally dressed in black jackets. Cello and violin take stage left, bass and guitar on stage right, drums in back. Front and center, Alejandro looks fabulous in a pinstripe suit and pointed patent leather shoes. He takes the microphone, and quietly starts ...
"Some people say the world's a strange and evil place
And all the shadows fall across your face
Because the world's a strange and evil place
Then others say because the sun shines every day
That we should live life come what may
Because the sun shines every day"