Alejandro Escovedo & Friends

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

Alejandro Escovedo & Friends

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 15

With the variety of his material and comrades, Alejandro Escovedo could hold a mini-SXSW himself, which in effect this evening was. Like a good meal, the early portion of the showcase was well-paced, beginning airy and ending heavy, with Escovedo's String Quintet (guitars, cellos, violin) breaking the cavernous ballroom's silence. "Baby's Got New Plans," from Thirteen Years, propelled, while "Dearhead on the Wall," from last year's John Cale-produced The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch), cemented momentum. Escovedo recently knocked on death's door due to hepatitis, yet there was nothing but life here. The new Chuck Prophet-co-written "Slow Down" closed the first set, segueing into Sally Timms and Jon Langford remembering the Mekons. The duo loosely realized songs by Escovedo and the Handsome Family, backed by Sexy Texy, which included Meat Purveyors strummer Bill Anderson. Escovedo and guitarist David Pulkingham then cleansed the palate with two acoustic numbers before the onslaught of Austin's new Future Clouds & Radar, Escovedo's acoustic band, Poi Dog Pondering, and the headliner's alt.rock garage ego, closer Buick MacKane. Escovedo: once again justifying No Depression's laurel wreath of the Nineties, Artist of the Decade.

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