Written by James Killen
May 25, 2013 at 10:00 PM
ImageThose with their ears to the ground have been hearing how Austin’s guitar army was getting back together again for some True Believers reunion activity. They’ve done a little studio time, played some gigs in and around Austin and announced a short tour that began in Oklahoma City and finished up in Houston at the Warehouse Live Studio. I was surprised that they didn’t play the larger ballroom, but the publicity was pretty subtle on this show and only the true believers in the True Believers showed up.

I missed the original guitar invasion in the 80’s as that occurred during my child rearing years, but have been a fast and faithful fan of Jon Dee Graham and Alejandro Escovedo in their separate solo careers. The chance to see them together and reliving the wilder rocking days with brother, Javier Escovedo, put this show high on my list.

Drummer Rey Washam was the first up on the stage and already rousing the crowd that had begun to press toward the stage. Alejandro started the show off, singing “Rebel Kind”, followed quickly by Javier singing “All Mixed Up Again”, while Jon Dee limbered up his fingers for some scorching leads. The whole guitar army fired a volley during a ripping version of “She’s Got”. It was going to be a night for earplugs and I was so glad that I had brought mine.

After an equally lively “Wild Eyed and Wound Up”, Jon Dee Graham, who had spent the first four songs bent over his guitar and lumbering around the stage like a bear, lumbered up to the mike to sing “Lucky Moon”. JDG then relinquished his guitar to pick up the bass for “Blue About You”, while Denny De Gorio played harmonica.

Most of the songs were from the old True Believer days, but there were a couple of new ones that they were performing on this tour, the first of which was Javier Escovedo’s “Gipsy Son”.  Graham then sang “Home”, an old TB song that I’ve heard him perform in a much calmer manner over the years during his solo shows. Javier sang “I Get Excited” while Alejandro played chords windmill style like Pete Townsend, followed by another TB/JDG classic “One Moment to Another”.

“The Rain Won’t Help You When It’s Over”, featured lead vocals by AE and a guitar solo by JDG that was as clear and crisp as a bell ringing. The band performed another new song, “Dedication” that turned into a sing-a-long, while the crowd leapt right in to repeat the refrain / title. The set ended with a very hard rock version of “Hard Road” complete with a fading feedback ending.

ImageThe encore began as the band came back to the stage and Alejandro Escovedo screamed the opening lines to “Nobody’s Home”. The band ended the night’s reunion with “Who Calls My Name”.

I’ve followed Jon Dee Graham and Alejandro Escovedo for fifteen years, seeing performances that ranged from acoustic folk to string quartets to full on rock shows, but I have never seen them amped up like this show. It was good to see them with the full band returning to their punk rocking roots. Who knows, we might see a new recording from them as a band, although they are still pursuing their solo projects. I’m excited to see what’s next.

Opening for the Believers, were the Footnotes, an alt-country trio with a heavy bass beat. They played some rockabilly numbers like “Comin’ Home” and some hard driving rock numbers like “Beast”. They ended their set with “Guitar and Gun”, an outlaw rock and roll number with nice changes and a rock out lead.