Earle and the Dukes - Corner Hotel - November 30 2005
Earle live at the Corner 30 November 2005
an artist sometimes described as a Texas Troubadour is now a self styled
political activist railing against the religious right, post 9/11 attacks
on freedom of speech and societal dissent.
to know how to time tours to coincide with the issues of our time. On
a previous tour it was the Maritime Union waterfront strike. This time
it was the pending Van Nguyen execution in Singapore. The introduction
to an solo version of Billy Austin and his thoughts on the hanging
were a real show stopper with the audience and his plea for Australians
to push for abolition were genuine, having been a long time advocate of
the opponent of the death penalty in the USA. Heaven knows what he would
have made of the racial events in Cronulla of the past week. The last
show of the night was The Unrepentant a song possibly written while
incarcerated from the album Ain't Ever Satisfied that gave a hint
of the direction that Mr Earle has taken in career to date.
renegade in Earle is manifest in the show that he performed on the
night. It's a long and brutal assault on the senses by the rock
dog leanings of the band. Kelley Looney looking like a washed out
surfer with a rock rat attitude on bass and together with Will Rigby
anchored the sound that was filled out by the guitar rifts of Eric
Ambel with leader Earle on various guitars and mandolins. Patrick
Earle is not only tour manager but plays percussion, syns and keyboards
a various points during the show.
it's not all political messages and bombast. Earle manages to provide
a show drawn from his long career and back catalogue that satisfies
those hungering for earlier tracks. In particular country gems Someday,
My Old Friend the Blues, You're Still Standing There with spouse
Alison Moorer providing the female vocal in lieu of Lucinda Williams
and radio hit Copperhead Road got the country crowd on side.
such as Home to Houston, a Humvee drivers lament about fighting
an unjust and dishonourable war has a kicker bar backbeat. Ditto for Rich
Man's War a song with a less subtle but by no means less powerful
message. The trilogy is filled out by Warrior, delivered in a rap
style that evokes images of noble fighters through the ages going back
to indigenous American Indians of times past. It is almost a call to arms
for all of us to stand up for what we believe in against politicians,
tyrants and despots who want to rule over us and control not only our
lives but also our thoughts.
of songs is a constant throughout the show and is a clever ploy by Earle.
It manages to put the songs into context even though they span the length
of career showing his longevity and artistic merit.
rhymes of Condi Condi had a call and response interchange
between audience and the stage. Once again a political message wrapped
up in a groove so that entertainment is the name of the game. Bracket
partner F The CC was spat out by the singer while the band
held down a punk beat. The sheer rebellion in the lyric and chorus
resulted in an end of tour stage invasion by the road crew who had
stripped off their clothes and avoided the threat of arrest for
profanity and indecency by strategically placed duct tape.
trilogies of Comin' Around, I Thought You Should Know and
Sweet Virginia provided the requisite love songs required
in a country show.
Encores, 25 songs and 134 shows it was time to hit the Hillbilly Highway.
It was fitting that Earle got to play the Corner in a week celebrating
its tenth year for the current owners.
It's been venue that has been graced by the presence of honky tonker and
five and dimer Billy Joe Shaver and current Lone Star State Gubernational
nominee, Kinky Friedman who might possibly be the man for the hour if
Steve Earle's music and message resonates in the right places.
This was a longer end of world tour show with welcome addition of songs
not performed at his two Prince Of Wales shows earlier in the month.
Review by PETER O'KEEFE - photos by Margaret Sullivan
/ back to articles