17 June – Elvis Costello has decided to take his Spectacular Singing Songbook on another tour of the UK and I’m at York Barbican with Mr L to see it to see it. The format of the show hasn’t changed since I saw it last year, random song selection and audience participation. As ever Elvis and The Imposters, Steve Nieve, Davey Faragher and the peerless Pete Thomas are on fine form. An interesting selection of songs, largely from the early days of his career, and a particularly good version of Shot With His Own Gun, a song he doesn’t perform often enough in my opinion.
Everyone leaves happy, with the exception of one bloke who is complaining that he didn’t play enough of his obscure songs and too many ‘hits’. There was someone who didn’t understand the point of the format!
The picture is from York and was stolen from the internet.
Setlist: I Hope You’re Happy Now; Heart Of The City; Mystery Dance; Radio Radio; Bedlam; (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea; She; Oliver’s Army; Accidents Will Happen; Shot With His Own Gun; I Still Have That Other Girl; Shipbuilding; Less Than Zero; Watching The Detectives; Two Little Hitlers; The Beat; A Slow Drag With Josephine; Veronica; Jimmie Standing In The Rain; Tramp The Dirt Down.
Encore: Alison; Strict Time; I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down; High Fidelity; Pump It Up; (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
18 June – The next night I’m back in York, but this time at The Grand Opera House and on my own, to see Lucinda Williams. This is billed as ‘An Intimate Evening with’. What this means in reality is that there is no drummer in her band. Ably supported by the excellent Doug Pettibone on guitar and bassist Dave Sutton Lucinda performs songs from across her career as well as a lovely cover of Nick Drake’s River Man. It seemed that many of the audience weren’t quite sure what to make of the show but I loved it.
Can’t Let Go; Metal Firecracker; Pineola; Jackson; When I Look At The World; Blue; Copenhagen; Right In Time; Drunken Angel; Something Wicked This Way Comes; Real Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar Strings; Changed The Locks; Hard Time Killing Floor Blues; Essence; Those 3 Days; Joy
Encore: River Man; Over Time
20 June It’s always great to see Ron Sexsmith and tonight it’s at a new venue for me, The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, a really nice small theatre. Backed by his regular road band: Don Kerr (drums/percussion), Tim Bovaconti (guitar), Jason Mercer (bass) and Dave Matheson (piano), we are treated to tracks from his new album, Forever Endeavour, as well as songs from his previous CDs. As you’d expect he doesn’t play everything I’d like to hear but he certainly doesn’t play anything I don’t want to!
There’s no one I’d rather go see than Ron.
24 June – The appeal of Lambchop is a strange thing. I find their CDs good but their live shows are something else. They’re a loose conglomeration led by writer/singer/guitarist Kurt Wagner. They were due to play Leeds Town Hall but the show was switched to the Brudenell Social Club. To me that’s a bonus as I prefer the intimacy of the smaller venue, Kurt might take a less positive view! Despite this they play a great show and send the audience home happy.
If Not I’ll Just Die; The Good Life (Is Wasted); Squidbillies Theme Song; Mr. Met; Gone Tomorrow; About My Lighter; What Else Could It Be?; Nice Without Mercy; Prepared; Nothing But A Blur From A Bullet Train; Betty’s Overture; Grumpus; The Book I Haven’t Read; Up With People
Encore: Fa-Q; Never My Love; Interrupted
29 June – A few years ago Mindy Smith was hailed as the great new female hope of country music after a cover of Jolene appeared on a Dolly Parton tribute album, bringing lavish praise from Ms Parton herself. Tonight, five albums later, it’s the song she opens this show at 7Arts in Chapel Allerton. Playing with a guitarist and percussion she has a good voice and decent songs but, while a pleasant night out, it’s not earth shattering.
The real find is the support act, Matthew Perryman Jones. It’s just him and an acoustic guitar but he has a set of great songs, with the stand out for me being Oh Theo. After the show I bought his CD, Land Of The Living, recorded with a band, and it’s not a disappointment.