Adoring Alejandro Escovedo fans crammed the parking lot behind Jo's Coffee on South Congress Friday night for the long-awaited return of the local rocker leading an orchestra. They got a preview of his new album, Street Songs of Love. Looking in fine form, in good voice, and visibly pleased to be in front of a live audience, Escovedo and his 11-piece Sensitive Boys burned up the stage with familiar songs from 2008's Real Animal LP and others. Lightning bolts leapt from Escovedo on electric guitar, bobbing and weaving, and playfully dueling with his electric bassist. There was a brief respite from the high-energy opening with another Escovedo favorite, "Sister Lost Soul," which he dedicated to Alex Chilton and Stephen Bruton. He began stirring up the musical brew again when he launched into nine back-to-back songs from the new disc. As the title Street Songs of Love implies, the songs are tough, sometimes indicting ("Say what you want, but it don't feel like love to me"), sometimes angrily yearning ("I'm a fool for your love"). If this set was any indication, Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys Orchestra have hit it into the stratosphere with the new disc, which drops this summer.
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