September 9, 2012

Concert #648 - Jackshit at McCabe's Guitar Shop (September 8, 2012)

This was my 25th time to see the Boys From Cochtotan in a headlining role. Most reasonable folks would say that I'm insane and maybe I am, but this is the kind of insanity that's perfectly fine to leave as is. For me, watching Jackshit live remains an exhilarating experience unmatched by anything else I've ever seen. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, here's who the members are:

Pete Thomas (drums, vocals): Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer and long-time partner of Elvis Costello. As a session musician, has drummed for countless big names, such as Johnny Cash, The Corrs, Sheryl Crow, Neil Finn, Joe Jackson, Los Lobos, Joan Osborne, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Squeeze, Richard Thompson and Rufus Wainwright.

Dave Faragher (bass, vocals): One of Elvis Costello's Imposters and coveted session bassist. Has recorded and toured with the Monkees, David Crosby, John Phillips, Wanda Jackson, Dusty Springfield, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Susanna Hoffs, Joan Osborne, Ronnie Montrose, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy, Willy DeVille, Elton John, Leon Russell and many others.
Val McCallum (electric guitar, vocals): Lead guitarist for Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman and many others.
Last night's sold-out show was - what else is new? - exceptionally good, even though there were no surprise guests. Val and Dave were their usual funny selves, while the typically more reserved Pete was unusually smiley and talkative. Val's guitar playing was out of this world and so were Dave's two bass solos. Dave also outdid himself with a few soprano falsettos that were both powerful and comical. Pete's finest moments came during the singing of "Lazy Day" and the epic grand finale of Johnny Horton's "I'm Coming Home", a song that invariably brings the audience to its feet.

The Shit Horns reported to duty as they often do, making their entrance from the back of the room while playing the trumpet parts of "Ring Of Fire". They followed up with a rousing rendition of Herb Alpert's "The Lonely Bull", a song that appears as "Lonesome Bull" on the band's set list. The Shit Horns came back a few songs later to help with the playing of "Ghost Riders In The Sky" and the "Theme From The Magnificent Seven", both new additions to the band's repertoire. There is a family connection between the latter song and Val McCallum, as Charles Bronson, Val's step-father, was one of the main protagonists of "The Magnificent Seven", the monumental film from the early 1960s.
 By the way, Jackshit's rendition of the song was particularly good.

There was one other new number last night, "Tulane", a song instantly recognizable as one of Chuck Berry's. Among the old favorites, "Pretty Polly" and "Ugly And Slouchy", complete with its fabulous rock & roll medley, received the best crowd response. Dave's vocal performance on "Jesus Is Just Alright" was yet another highlight in an evening that wasn't short of highlights. Playing a vibraslap, Charlie, Dave's son, made a brief appearance.

Val McCallum & Dave Faragher at McCabe's
The set list
The tongues are out during the playing of "The Lonely Bull"
Val, Dave and the Shit Horn Lady (name?)
Quite compulsively, I keep telling everyone about Jackshit's marvelous live shows and, modesty aside, I have results to show. Over the course of a few years, I have brought to McCabe's a grand total of one hundred and six friends to see the Boys from Cochtotan. Many of them have become "repeat customers" who in turn have spread the word further. Last night's newcomers were my coworkers Daniel and Chris, as well as Rachel, Chris' wife. They all had a blast.

From left: Manan, Saphire and newbie Daniel
From left: Alejandro, Veronica and Octavio
First-timers Rachel and Chris

Jackshit's next appearance at McCabe's will be their annual Christmas concert in mid-December, which is guaranteed to sell out.

The stage
Val McCallum's music stand
Val McCallum with fans after the show
Pete Thomas, chatting up the ladies
Concert poster

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