June 4, 2011

Concert #384 - Jackshit at McCabe's Guitar Shop (November 12, 2005)

With hundreds of concert listings to peruse everyday, normally I wouldn't even notice a band name such as Jackshit, nor would I pay much attention if told that they've been voted the best bar band in LA. But when Lincoln Myerson, the Concert Director at McCabe's, told me in October 2005 that he had just booked an allegedly fabulous band named Jackshit for their first-ever gig at McCabe's, I listened.

Accompanied by my friend Art, I went to McCabe's not knowing what to expect. As people were filing in, I noticed  that nobody rushed to sit in the first few rows. These guys must be playing real loud, I said to myself, and what are they doing here anyway, don't they know that McCabe's is an acoustic folk music venue?

First song - "Hi, How Are You". Great guitar work. Second song - "Christine's Tune", an old Flying Burrito Brothers gem. Wow, these guys are good.  By the time they finished their third song - "Big River", the Johnny Cash classic - I was a fan.

There wasn't a single bad number in their set, which included mostly classic country songs, some familiar, others obscure, all masterfully played with power and lots of fun. Among the songs they played: "Bull Rider", "Dangerous Crossings", "Down In The Willow Garden" and "Older Guys". They also played "Ugly And Slouchy", which quickly turned into an extended rock & roll medley that included bits of "Green Eyed Lady", "And When I Die" and other well-known songs, it was a riot.

Electric shows are fairly rare at McCabe's, and after countless acoustic shows I had attended there, I really enjoyed the loud, plugged-in sounds of the band. Yes, it was loud, but definitely within the limits of acceptability. 

Guitarist Val McCallum
Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Pete Thomas (drums)
Bassist Dave Faragher

Ron Sexsmith was their unannounced guest, they played together three songs, but I can't say that I was taken by Ron's performance.

The show ended with an epic version of Johnny Horton's "I'm Coming Home". For their encore, they played "Hold That Critter Down", featuring drummer Pete Thomas on acoustic guitar. He did well.

My friends know me for my frequent verbal exaggerations, so here's another one: This was a life-changing event. But am I really exaggerating? Not if you consider that, out of the blue, I discovered three musicians of the highest caliber, playing some of the best music I'd ever heard, all this for $15 and a front row seat. How do you beat that?


  1. So you were unaware of the Elvis Costello connection?

  2. I went to my first Jackshit concert without having done my homework, so indeed, I was unaware of the Elvis Costello connection. But I did recognize Pete Thomas, whom I had seen drumming for other artists before.

  3. I have gone to one at McCabe's and one at the Baked Potato. Coming on Saturday with 10 friends.