Monday, May 28, 2018

Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore at The Federal Bar, 5-27-18 Concert Review

Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore, "Downey To Lubbock"
My fantastic weekend of music continued on Sunday, first with a concert by Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore at The Federal Bar in North Hollywood. This was part of the Mimosa Music Series, hosted by Gary Calamar. I got there early, because when Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin did a show there in 2014, the place was packed, and I expected much the same for this concert. And indeed that was the case.

For the first time ever, we were asked to form two lines – one for those who had sent in an RSVP, and one for those who hadn’t. It was a good idea, and one they probably should have employed before. As the first person in line, I was appointed by the guy working the door to distinguish the lines for all those who would arrive after me. It was not an office I sought, but I fulfilled my duty as best as I could. “You look like a fairly vocal person,” he told me. Well, I suppose that’s true. And it was a good thing I got there early, because with still fifteen minutes before doors were scheduled to open, both lines were already pretty long. I love attending these shows. The music is always good, and the atmosphere is relaxed and mellow, which works well for me these days. Have a couple of drinks, some breakfast and enjoy the show. The crowds that gather for these shows are also mellow. Never any trouble, never any nonsense, perhaps because it is just too early for that.

Just before 11 a.m., the doors were opened, and we filed inside. This time we were given only one drink ticket (I usually get two), and ordered my free mimosa as soon as I was seated, as well as the breakfast bread basket. The service at this venue is always friendly and prompt. And it was not long before the place was packed, leading Gary to make a joke about the fire marshal assuring that we were not violating codes, but that we should applaud vertically rather than horizontally. Opening the show was Abby And The Myth. Or, as lead singer and guitarist Abby Posner indicated at the beginning of their set, half of Abby And The Myth. It was just Abby along with Cara Batema on accordion and backing vocals. I enjoyed their set, particularly their harmonies. Certain lines stood out, such as “Won’t you look me in the eye to see who I’ve become” from their opening number, “Who Have I Become.” They focused on material from their album When You Dig A Well.

Then at 12:40 p.m., Gary Calamar introduced Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Dave then teased Gary for failing to mention their new album in his introduction, the album they were in fact promoting and celebrating. Yes, they have an album coming out this Friday, titled Downey To Lubbock. And it’s going to be released on both CD and vinyl. They kicked off the set with the album’s title track, with each of them taking lead vocal duties on different verses. Dave forgot some of the lyrics, laughing, “It’s early in the morning, for Christ’s sake.” They were clearly having a great time. Dave Alvin played electric guitar, while Jimmie Dale Gilmore was on acoustic guitar and harmonica. And it was about the stories almost as much as it was about the music at this show. Jimmie mentioned that they’d been friends for thirty years, but didn’t play together until last year. He joked about how folks thought he was retired, “It’s a better word for lazy.” Then they told a funny anecdote about how each of them was asked to record “Silverlake,” a pretty song written by Steve Young.

They followed “Silverlake” with another beautiful song, “The Gardens,” written by Chris Gaffney. Dave sang lead on that one, and Jimmie added some nice touches on harmonica. Jimmie then joked that he learns what he thinks by what he says on stage. “I had a pertinent digression,” he said, a line that made laugh aloud. “Stealin’” is a song I’ve loved since I first heard it in my early teens, and Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore did a fun and wonderful rendition, each singing lead on different verses. That was followed by Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos).” After that, while Dave tuned, he joked, “Let’s tune again like we did last summer.” Then, not getting as much of a reaction as you might expect, he opined that the reference was too old. Well, if a Chubby Checker reference is too old, the next song they chose was nearly a decade older, Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” They then played “Billy The Kid And Geronimo,” with each of them singing lead on certain verses, and then finished the set with The Youngbloods’ “Get Together,” changing the lyric from “smile on your brother” to “smile on each other.” The encore was a totally delightful rendition of “Honky Tonk Song.” The show ended at 1:41 p.m.

Set List
  1. Downey To Lubbock
  2. Silverlake
  3. The Gardens
  4. Stealin’
  5. Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
  6. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
  7. Billy The Kid And Geronimo
  8. Get Together
  1. Honky Tonk Song
Here are a few photos from the show:

"Downey To Lubbock"
"Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)"
"Billy The Kid And Geronimo"
"Honky Tonk Song"
The Federal Bar is located at 5303 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, California.

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