BY TIM HINELY / PHOTO BY JD BAMFORD
Not having seen Alejandro Escovedo live prior to this evening—although I’d definitely heard Nuns, Rank & File and True Believers back in the day—I was not disappointed by his show at Denver’s Soiled Dove on November 22.
He picked a perfect opener on the tour, California-bred/ Austin, TX based Amy Cook. She was sassy and charming, armed on stage with only herself and her “Gretsch guitar and Mesa Boogie Amp” (when she mentioned the amp I yelled out, “Petaluma, California!” and she smiled and said “Yup….Petaluma, California”). She really appreciated the crowd response and the crowd certainly appreciated her, too.
Alejandro and his band the Sensitive Boys bounded on stage at 9 PM sharp. He was dressed to the nines, with a powder blue jacket and rolled-up jeans (“He looks like a Mexican Buddy Holly,” as one of my pals said). The guy has been releasing solo stuff since the early ‘90s and played a generous dose of songs from all of his solo records. He told some great stories as well, about the time his mom and dad packed all 12 kids into the family car to drive to California for a visit, only it wasn’t a visit, they ended up staying and Alejandro spent his youth playing music, seeing music and surfing in the Huntington Beach area. He dedicated another song to “greats like Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the Gun Club and others who have passed on.”
Some of the tunes he played included “Bottom of the World” (this one was about Austin and “how it used to be a great town but has lost much of its charm” said Alejandro) , the gorgeous “San Antonio Rain, the kickin’ “Sensitive Boys” (the song that wound up giving his current band its name), a song about his days of surfing in his youth, “The Swells of San Juan” and plenty more. He played a handful of covers as well including Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” and the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane’ (he did a sort-of tribute/medley to Lou at the end of the set including part of “Street Hassle”).
The night came to an end when he had the whole crowd singing along to Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes” before calling it a night and suggesting everyone go say hello to his son and daughter the merch table.