Announced as The Third Annual Jackshit Holiday Extravaganza, the concert was indeed extravagant, as the Boys from Cochtotan brought to stage not only their own brand of great music and humor, but also a record number of four surprise guests. Over the years, the band has been spoiling its fans with such unannounced guests and a welcome trend is clearly developing: as the fame of the band grows, so does the caliber of their guests.
The evening did not start well for me. I got in line at 5:15 PM in order to get front-row center seats for my wife and I. Quite often, folks associated with various performers are allowed in before doors open to the general public, but those folks never take the best seats in the house. That's just basic courtesy to the performer's best fans, the ones who wait in the street for hours. Sadly, such courtesy was not present Friday night, so we ended up not sitting where we wanted to sit.
The show started with four predictable songs, followed by the seldom-played "Hung It Up", from the repertoire of Junior Brown. Next, the band brought out Johnny Shit, known to many as Jonathan Rice, the up-and-coming musician of some talent who's also half of the Jenny & Johnny duo. Johnny sang only one song, "Carpetbaggers", which I believe is the duo's best.
|Jonathan Rice at McCabe's|
|Pete Thomas, occasional singer and guitarist (with Charlie Faragher on drums)|
|Lucinda Williams at McCabe's|
|Lucinda Williams thanking the crowd|
The Shit Horns made their usual brief appearance, but this time there was no "Ring Of Fire" and no "Lonely Bull". Instead, they helped out on "The Magnificent Seven" and "Ghost Riders In The Sky", a song that also featured Shorty's laughter-inducing high falsettos.
|The Shit Horns|
Since 1990, I've seen Dave Alvin in concert close to twenty times and all of these appearances were acoustic. Nothing wrong with that, but Friday night's electric sounds were something to behold and I would be absolutely thrilled to watch Dave in an all-electric show at McCabe's.
|Dave Alvin at McCabe's, with Dave Faragher in the background|
|Albert Lee (seated), with Dave Faragher|
|Val McCallum trading guitar licks with Albert Lee|
Given the prevailing Christmas spirit, the Boys From Cochtotan left out a few often-played murder songs, so we did not get to hear "Long Black Veil", nor "Pretty Polly". I would have loved to hear the latter.
|The set list|
|Suzanne (left) & Tul|
|Bharat and Deborah|
|Cindy, Rick & Chris|
|Tan & Jerry|
|Kostas & Jessica|
|Saphire (center) with her friends|
|Lucinda Williams and my friend Steve|
|McCabe's employees Mikki Itzigsohn and Lincoln Myerson|
By the way, this was my 333rd McCabe's concert, a number that just makes me shake my head in disbelief.