LIVE: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit @ The Egg, 5/22/15

June 15th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Memorial Day is more than just an extra day off from work or an afternoon to fire up the grill and welcome summer…

Kicking off the big Memorial Day weekend at The Egg’s Hart Theatre, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell honored those who have served in our armed forces with a terrific triptych of tunes early on in his two-hour show. With his solid but unobtrusive four-piece backing band, the 400 Unit, slamming into arena-rock assault mode, Isbell launched into the delicate balance of honor and hostility in “Decoration Day” from his days with the Drive By Truckers, digging in and turning up the heat with a fiery slide guitar solo. “Tour of Duty” showcased the country twang aspect of the band, while “Dress Blues” was a personal and anguished remembrance of a young soldier and father-to-be, who didn’t live to see his 22nd birthday. “There’s red, white and blue in the rafters/And there’s silent old men from the Corps/What did they say when they shipped you away/To fight somebody’s Hollywood war?”

Perhaps Isbell plays those songs every night when he’s out on tour, but they echoed and ached with a deeper resonance on this night.

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LIVE: Jason Isbell @ MASS MoCA, 8/15/14

August 20th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Jason Isbell

Photographs by Bender Melon

At MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit played through most of Southeastern, a few songs from the back catalog and some of his Drive-By Truckers songs.

The band was tight. The witnesses were pleased.

Jason Isbell (guitar)
Sadler Vaden (guitar)
Jimbo Hart (bass)
Chad Gamble (drums)
Derry deBorja (keyboards)

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