A Very Good Sunday Evening
I’d been indoors all Saturday and Sunday, reading and writing and watching TV; the goldfish appreciated the company. But by evening time Sunday I was in the mood for a gig, although it needed to be a somewhat chilled and intelligent affair. I didn’t want raucous. Anyway, Dave from work and I had tickets to go and see Giant Sand. Neither of us had ever really heard a Giant Sand record, but we knew they’d fathered Calexico, who are really really good, so they were pretty certain to be in one of the ballparks we like to play in – sort of Americana, rocky alt country kind of stuff with a few other things probably thrown into the mix, and the lead bloke’s name is Howe Gelb, for goodness sake, which is some name. I was feeling incredibly mellow, and Dave announced upon his arrival in the bar that he’d been out the night before and it had been quite a heavy one. He said something about cocktails called Buffalo Orgasmos. He also described what they looked like. Let’s just say they’re not called Buffalo Orgasmos for nothing, and leave it at that. Anyway, he was apparently in the mood for something chilled and intelligent, which is not always the case.
Support was from The Deadstring Brothers. They are from Detroit, as if it matters. There were a lot of them, and they had a girl doing vocal harmonies alongside the bloke on lead, but they were still Brothers. She was also chewing on something all the time, which I found less than appealing. If it was gum it was a very big gum, and she was really busy at it. We thought it was more likely a wad of tobacco. But they were a good band. As Dave said, they had the Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris thing nailed. Original no, good yes, and exactly what we wanted on a chilled and intelligent Sunday evening.
As was Howe Gelb. Howe Gelb was great. He’s a tall thin guy, bearded, and he was wearing a suit looked like it was from a charity shop, and a baseball cap. On top of his suit was something I’d call a body warmer. It was orange and blue, I think. Fashion is not his big thing, obviously. But he is Giant Sand, and he is very good. Anyone on stage with him is just his band at the time, I reckon. He said these guys on Sunday were from Denmark, but I don’t know if he was telling the truth. He was a pretty humorous guy, and I suspect not above the occasional ironic lie or incomprehensible joke. It was a great show. Gelb writes smart, witty and incisive lyrics, and if I could remember what any of them were I’d quote some. Simply, he’s a class act. The songs came over as really strong, and when the whole show is songs you’ve never heard before and they still knock you out I figure that’s really impressive. We came away thinking we’d have to go to Selectadisc and try and find some records. Giant Sand have been around over 20 years, and they’ve made loads of records. But today Dave told me he’d looked, and there’s not much around on the shelves. I guess it’s a case of hunting on the infoweb. But what I meant to say was, if Giant Sand come to a hall near you, remember we gave them 10 out of 9.