What an incredible Sunday night was lined-up as the Alejandro Escovedo / Jesse Malin tour blew away the faithful at the Music Box Supper Club. The constantly touring Escovedo is riding the wave with his just released Burn Something Beautiful album. A collaborative songwriting effort with Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey, the brilliant new vinyl record was cut here in Cleveland by Clint Holley at Well Made Music.
Backing Escovedo on this tour was bassist Aaron McClellan drummer Shawn Peters, and guitarist Jason Victor whom he playfully jammed and traded leads with throughout the evening. The headliner opened with a new one he wrote about friends that have passed on and how he misses them titled “Heartbreak Smile” and flowed it into “Horizontal” and “Shave The Cat” from the new album. Dipping into his extensive catalog, Escovedo offered gorgeous renditions of “Bottom Of The World”, “Down In The Bowery”, and a moving rendition of “Sister Lost Soul” which was dedicated to the recent loss of Sharon Jones. Two of the many radio friendly singles on the new album, “Beauty and the Buzz” and “Beauty of Your Smile” were only missing the lovely studio backing vocals of Kelly Hogan. The build-up from acoustic to electric hit epic proportions after “Sally Was A Cop” when Escovedo unleashed the loud, fast and distorted “Luna De Mial” and “Johnny Volume” before the final song of the main set “Chelsea Hotel ‘78”. Touched by the passing of another fallen hero Leonard Cohen, Escovedo dedicated tonight’s encore cover song “A Thousand Kisses Deep” to another artist who has inspired and influenced his career. Coming full circle, the show ended with a quieter acoustic laced “Always A Friend”.
Jesse Malin is by no means just the opening act on this double-header barnstorm through the Midwest. Joined onstage by Derek Cruz on guitar and piano, the acoustic playing Malin delivered a set of catchy pop hook filled numbers opening with “Revelations”, “Addicted”, and a song about dating someone younger called “The Year I Was Born”. Spinning stories throughout, Malin set the table with how “Outsiders” was about people doing it their own way and “Brooklyn”, off his first Lp, how writing a song is a very private thing you do when no one is around. “If I Fall From The Grace of God” from The Pogues was slipped in-between “Turn Up The Mains” and the best place to learn about a new city your visiting called ‘Bar Life”. Malin closed out his portion of the evening discussing positive mental attitude (PMA) to get through things and a humorous song about a prick who lived upstairs from him in Manhattan titled “All The Way From Moscow” with the tag line “You Don’t Get Your Money Back”.
Those in attendance definitely received their money’s worth and should not be missed.