Econo gigs: Grandaddy at Rough Trade East, 4th April 2017 / Alejandro Escovedo at the Bush Hall, 5th April 2017

“We Jam Econo”. This motto may ring a bell to those familiar with late 80’s US rock bands and The Minutemen in particular. Well, London is for sure an expensive place but there are plenty of ways to attend gigs without spending too much money if you are curious, if you have the time to do so…and if your idea of a good night out does not mean seeing a Drake’s concert (I swear not to mention again Drake throughout this post).

  • Grandaddy, Rough Trade East, 4th April 2017

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Once more, another great set at one of my favourite record stores from an excellent band I had not seen for a long time. As usual for this kind of events, the show was free and open to all, subject to have the precious wristband showing that one had bought the record at Rough Trade.

Grandaddy made a comeback album recently with “Last Place” and this album was actually in our selection of the best albums of March 2017. The band is more than ever under the leadership of Jason Lytle but the funny thing is that a Grandaddy song does not sound as one of his solo songs. For those who have never heard one of their songs, the best lazy description would be to say that this is a mix between The Beach Boys and Pavement, with a touch of 80’s British synthesizers. I know it sounds weird as such but the results are much better than my comments.

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These Rough Trade events are indeed shorter than proper concerts but with generally a 40-minutes setlist, they are not that different from those one can listen to at a festival for instance. The band were as professional I guess as the proper concert they played in London the previous day. Quite funny also to see five big guys on such a tiny stage! I also increased my collection of signed LP covers and I had a bit of a chat with the band. Last but not least, their super cool producer DJ Danger Mouse (The Grey Album, Gnars Barkley and producer of basically everyone) was hanging around with a few friends in the store so that was a nice moment!

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  • Alejandro Escovedo, Bush Hall, 5th of April 2017

Direction to the Bush Hall the following night to attend my first ever gig of Alejandro Escovedo, a musician whose records I like and who has an amazing reputation of being a great live performer. I would be happy to find a better deal as Bush Hall tickets are around £17…

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Born and raised in Texas with Mexican origins, Alejandro Escovedo is one of these guys very famous amongst his peers but who never got the fame he could have deserved. I guess he does not give a s*** as the 66-year old guy is to me the epitome of a rock’n’roll singer and guitarist who has lived and worked throughout his life for and by his passion. For the record, he is the uncle of Sheila E., the great percussionist who played with Prince. He used to be a member of the 80’s US band The Rank and File before going solo. I would describe his music by saying this is a mix of Texan punk with a Bruce Springsteen sensitivity. I did not mention the Americana style on purpose as he did a few jokes about it!

The gig started with a very interesting Italian band called Don Antonio. After having been blessed by their funny leader, they played a kind of Sicilian cowboy music with great skills and a nice desert groove. They came back for the show as they were actually Alejandro’s live band…and probably the happiest band on earth to do so.

The show was extremely good and I must say I had not experienced such a strong interaction between a band and their audience for a long time. Don Antonio in particular is an amazing guitar player and I was also particularly impressed by the energy and beautiful gravel voice of Escovedo. He is everything I like about this music when played as such: fun, skills, authenticity and emotion. His version of Leonard Cohen‘s “A Thousand Kisses Deep” was particularly beautiful (thanks to my Juillac gig partner for the spot by the way…). Catch Alejandro Escovedo live if you can and you will spend a great and friendly evening.

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