What have you done to deserve a chance to see Alejandro Escovedo
a second time in as many months? Probably nothing -- it's just that the hardworking Escovedo tours nearly three-fourths of the year and St. Louis falls squarely in the center of the country. Anyway, if you missed his performance with the Old 97's at the Pageant in May, you'll get another chance to see him at Off Broadway, where he'll be supporting his most recent release, A Man Under the Influence.
Escovedo is a favorite of reviewers -- he's been named the Artist of the Decade by No Depression
(two years before the decade ended, no less), called "one of rock's most underrated singer-songwriters" by David Fricke of Rolling Stone
and heralded as nothing less than "a suave motherfucker ... that smart people with good taste would like if they'd only listen" in the Village Voice
. For those of you who groan at the thought of another singer/songwriter performance after the Twangfest frenzy of li'l cowpokes a few weeks back, keep in mind that Escovedo was one of the founding members of the San Francisco punk band the Nuns, and if we're lucky, he'll throw in a Stooges, Lou Reed or Mott the Hoople cover. But even without the ringer tunes, his performance promises delight; the songs on his recent release range from the melodic, poignant "Wave" and "Rosalie" -- both of which explore the northern immigration of Escovedo's father to reveal the ironies of the experience -- to the rockers "Castanets" ("I liked her better when she danced my way/I like her better when she walks away") and "Velvet Guitar." Although the songs are
romantic, it's a romance that chooses life's paradoxes over its happily-ever-afters: "It's all about this Love/It's all about this Pain/It's all about the way/We break, to Love again." Cheesy in print, perhaps, but go to Off Broadway and let Escovedo demonstrate otherwise. Lightning never strikes three times.