Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 18, 2005
Auditorium Shores, Friday, March 18Before Ian Hunter took the stage there was an interesting contrast in the range of Mott the Hoople and Buick McKane T-shirts in the crowd. Especially since Alejandro Escovedo had just warmed everyone up with a show of near hurricane force. The Austin musician has long championed Hunter's music, but it wasn't until one followed the other that the obvious influences really shone. Hunter took the stage on an odd note with the downhearted ballad "Rest in Peace." While he used fewer instruments than Escovedo to craft his sound three guitars, keys, and the occasional mandolin and harmonica the orchestral sweep and use of dynamics to build a mood then tear it down was unmistakably similar. To the assembled faithful's disappointment, Hunter concentrated mostly on his latest material, particularly from 2001's Rant and his latest, Strings Attached. Yet while the tunes may have been mostly unfamiliar, he remains a powerful presence onstage, with a top-notch band and songs that continually remind us of the glory of rock & roll. Early on, Escovedo joined in for a duet on "I Wish I Was Your Mother" that obviously touched him even though he's performed the song on his own countless times. Particularly moving was a musical reflection on the passing of longtime Hunter guitarist Mick Ronson, "Michael Picasso," which Hunter sang with such conviction you could feel his heartbreak. Near set's end he rang out the Mott tunes and had everyone singing along to "Saturday Gigs" and "All the Young Dudes." He may be tired of singing them, but you wouldn't have known it, and he left the crowd merry and satisfied.