Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Nov. 4, 2005
Antone's, Oct. 27
"Sounds like the True Believers," grinned Alejandro Escovedo after the band's smokestack billowed black on Lou Reed's "Train Round the Bend." "[Though] not as drunk and out of tune." Now it was Jon Dee Graham's turn to laugh. And it did sound like the True Believers. More or less. Less than the last true reunion, SXSW 1993, when Escovedo, his brother Javier, Graham, original bassist Denny DeGorio, and (bell) ringer Rey Washam pounded like a hard rain falling. But more than a lackluster get-together several years ago in conjunction with a Waterloo Records anniversary. This time round the bend, only Escovedo and Graham survived the original lineup, Charlie Sexton in for Javier Escovedo, Cornbread subbing for DeGorio, and Hector Muñoz beating drums as he did in the band's last Eighties incarnation. "Quick Study" Sexton delivered admirable versions of Javier numbers "All Mixed Up," "I Get Excited," and particularly "So Blue About You," yet mostly laid back, staying well out of Escovedo and Graham's spotlight. Alejandro and Javier's harmonies went sadly missing all evening, Phil and Don Everly still at their brotherly ways, but "The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over," with its Bob Marley interlude, "Lively Up Yourself," hit on all cylinders thanks to Sexton's third voice. The balance of the band's all-too-brief 60-minute main set was well oiled and steely, starting with second set-lister "Hard Road," on which Escovedo nudged Graham into his role as Monster Island guitarist. Graham's vocal numbers, "Home," "Lucky Moon," and the endearingly craggy "One Moment to Another," were as soulful as the band was full-bore. Like the latter song, "She's Got," another standout from the local supergroup's posthumous second disc, encapsulated the True Believers anthemic rock jet propulsion three guitars, all drive shaft. Long black Cadillac, as the song says. Two more Reed covers, "Foggy Notion" and final encore "Sweet Jane," following Graham's heartfelt "Sleep Enough to Dream," bottled lightning too. Sounded like the True Believers.