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Story and photos by Jennifer BronenkantTexas based rocker Alejandro Escovedo and his band The Sensitive Boys made a stop at Turner Hall Ballroom as part of his advance tour for the June 6th release of his new lp Big Station. Escovedo, who has earned a strong Milwaukee following over the years, easily filled the venue.
Opening with "Sally Was A Cop" from the upcoming release, the set list featured five additional new numbers mixed in with songs from his vast catalog of work. The new material draws from a variety of emotions and experiences including his observations of poverty and violence while on vacation in Mexico which lead to the opening number, to his reconnection with his birth place of San Antonio for "San Antonio Rain" and the sentimental tribute to his Latino heritage in singing the beautiful "Sabor A Mi."
With his easy smile, Escovedo draws the crowd into the experience of a night of great music with a friend. There is no "star" attitude with this hard working rocker who hung out outside in front of the venue before the performance talking with fans.
His long time band, featuring two new members drummer Christopher Searles and guitarist Billy White, was as tight as ever bringing the classic potent rock experience one can expect at an Escovedo show. Towards the end of the show, Escovedo thanked the still seated crowd for being so polite and invited them to get up on their feet and cut loose before singing the infectious "Castanets." He returned for an encore that started with the ballad "Sabor A Mi" and finished off with a rousing jam of "Beast Of Burden" in which the band was joined by opening act Jesse Malin with Derek Cruz.
Malin, who like Escovedo began in the punk rock scene of the 70's, started the night off with an energetic mix of his original songs along with covers of Paul Simon's "Slip Slidding Away" and Neil Young's "Helpless." He also invited the crowd to their feet during his set.
Escovedo is a powerful performer who's punk rock roots still pulse loud and clear through his music. It took a couple of invitations to get the crowd up to their feet to give back the energy they were receiving from the bands. The blame for that is most likely not with the audience but with the decision to seat the show as a candle lit cabaret rather than the rock show that it was.
|Milwaukee Set list:|
Sally Was A Cop|
This Bed Is Getting Crowded
Bottom Of The World
San Antonio Rain
Down In The Bowery
Chelsea Hotel '78
Man Of The World
Can't Make Me Run
Sabor A Mi
Beast Of Burden
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