Review: Alejandro Escovedo, Ian McLagan, (the Reivers?) at Antone’s

By John DeFore. Austin 360 website. Aug. 29, 2008.

Photos accompanying article, by Jay Janner.

Thursday’s benefit for the Austin Child Guidance Center was an all-star event with bite-sized sets. With most of the Antone’s floor devoted to silent auctions, VIP sponsor tables, and — what? — folding chairs, the music was the main event but had stiff competition. (Happily for the bands, the first round of auctioneering saw a stack of signed Ian McLagan records outperform, on a bid-versus-retail-price basis, a 50” plasma TV and a bike presented by a beauty queen.)

After quick sets from the Reivers — hinting at a new album and, if John Croslin was to be believed, another new name — and Ian McLagan — whose drummer Don Harvey organized the event — came one whose briefness made sense, coming as it did between somewhat more demanding gigs: playing the Democratic National Convention and opening for Bruce Springsteen.

Alejandro Escovedo may have needed some rest recently, but he was anything but exhausted here, ripping through a set heavy on rockers from his latest record. Slowing down only for “Sister Lost Soul” and to repeatedly thank the Child Guidance Center for the work they do, he began with “Always a Friend” and was soon worked up enough to have to ditch his black-and-blue iridescent suit jacket. Leading a four-piece, strings-free band, he worked the crowd up with “Chelsea Hotel ‘78” and “Real as an Animal” before zipping off the stage and disappearing — heading home, one guesses, to carefully pack his red leather shoes for a Saturday show in Milwaukee with the Boss.