Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Declan MacManis and Sugercanes at Bass Concert Hall

Before continuing, I should mention that I have been a huge Elvis Costello fan, since my highschool days. However, I must admit that I had not been following his post-punk career until SxSW a few years back. He was a keynote speaker that year, and I saw him perform that week with the renamed version of the Attractions, the Imposters, at La Zona Rosa. I started digging into the vault, after that show.

Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of seeing Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes play for approximately 3 hours, at the Bass Concert Hall. This time around, he has genre jumped into playing a sort of American/Bluegrass variant. The new album and material was produced by T-Bone Burnett, so I was looking forward to seeing the show.

Upon arriving, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the 2nd row. There's no need to say anything about the sight lines, or the acoustics, since both were exceptional. The Bass Hall appeared to be close to full capacity for this show.

For the new album and this tour, Elvis was accompanied by an acoustic string band consisting of the following people:

  • Jeff Taylor – accordian
  • Mike Compton – mandolin
  • Dennis Crouch – double bass
  • Jerry Douglas – dobro
  • Stuart Duncan – banjo, fiddle
  • Jim Lauderdale - harmony vocals
I was somewhat disappointed to discover that T-Bone himself, was not present, even though he plays on the album. Regardless, this band was awesome, and I'm happy to report that there was no tinnitus from this event.

Over the past few weeks, I had already given his new album several listens, and believe he covered most of the material during the show. Elvis also performed new versions of some of his older songs, including:

  • (Angels Wanna Wear My) red shoes
  • Mystery Dance
  • Blame it on Cain
  • Alison
  • (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?
  • Everyday I write the book

After playing, for approximately 2 straight hours, Elvis and the band were called back out for 2 encores which ended up lasting almost an additional. During this time, they were also joined on stage by Patty Griffin. What a treat, and fantastic way to cap off a great evening of music.

Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes @ Bass Concert Hall
Patty Griffin with Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes @ Bass Concert Hall