When alt-country, roots-rockin’ icon Alejandro Escovedo named his current band the Sensitive Boys, he took the name from a song of the same title on his 2008 album, “Real Animal.”
And in “Sensitive Boys” (the song), Escovedo declares, “Don’t let em get you down, Sensitive Boys/Turn your amps up loud/Go ahead and run us off/But make your baby proud.”
Last Thursday night at The Egg in Albany, the Sensitive Boys (the band) did just that. Backing up Escovedo, drummer Hector Munoz, guitar hero Dave Pulkingham and bassist Bobby Daniel weren’t really the what you might call “sensitive.” Rather, they were biting at the bit, plugged in and fired up to play a night of fast ‘n’ furious songs drawn from Escovedo’s vast catalog of 10 albums released over the course of the past 11 years.
Up on stage and armed to wield a bevy of stinging guitar lines, Escovedo asked the audience to give him a minute so his band could make a few last minute adjustments to their instruments. Someone in the audience shot back, “I got all night, except I got to go to work by 8 o’clock in the morning.”
Truth be told, that guy and probably everyone else in the theater would have waited as long as it took to get started. And nobody would have complained if Escovedo and his band had a hankering to play all night and into the morning, either.
Not surprisingly, Escovedo and gang showcased a big batch of tunes from his new album, “Street Songs Of Love,” and they rocked hard and loud in the intimate little theater.
But it wasn’t all about The Rockin’. After an opening flurry of cranking out the big rock beat, things turned quiet. There was the delicate instrumental “Fort Worth Blues,” the wistful “Rosalie” and the mournful ballad “Sister Lost Soul.”
Then they cranked it back up again, taking it higher and harder with such pressurized nuggets as “Sex Beat” and “Chelsea Hotel ’78.”
Opening act Hamell On Trial – the one-man rock ‘n’ roll army of former Albanian Ed Hamell – kicked off the show in high gear, tearing through an outrageous set that was equally profane and poignant, funny and ferocious – armed only with an acoustic guitar and a pitch black sense of humor.
The whole night came together at the end of Escovedo’s set, when Hamell joined the Sensitive Boys for a pair of electrifying encores that pretty much defined what rock ‘n’ roll is all about – the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for My Man” and the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden.”
I’m still trying to catch my breath…
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Set list provided by Michael Hochanadel
Michael Eck’s review at The Times Union
An excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “(Guitarist David) Pulkingham co-starred on Thursday, slamming wicked chords or ratcheting through jolting single-note solos on electric guitar and earning a huge ovation after his nylon-string solo in ‘Rosalie’ – the show’s peak for sheer beauty. This may be Escovedo’s best-ever band – the Sensitive Boys – with 26-year tenured drummer Hector Munoz and relatively newly added bassist Bobby Daniel giving each tune just what it needed. But Escovedo could have slayed the crowd all by himself. He meant every note and made each song a sonic screenplay – extra-loud or tenderly soft – that left everyone breathless.”
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO & THE SENSITIVE BOYS SET LIST
This Bed is Getting Crowded
Street Songs of Love
(Unplugged songs follow)
Fort Worth Blue
Sister Lost Soul
The Last to Know (dedicated to Hamell on Trial and Michael Eck)
Chicano requinto from “By the Hand of the Father”
I Was Drunk
Down in the Bowery
(Plugged in again)
Chelsea Hotel ’78
Lucky Day (unrecorded new song)
Always a Friend
ENCORES (with Hamell on Trial, electric guitar)
Waiting for My Man
Beast of Burden