First-rate concerts that also happen to be free are few and far between. They also tend to sell out quickly, especially at venues as popular as the Getty Center's Harold M. Williams Auditorium. So I kept my eyes on the ball and reserved my tickets the minute they were made available to the public. Literally. I just wasn't going to miss out on a show that brought together three of my favorite musicians, namely Dave Alvin, John Doe and Exene Cervenka, performing together as three fifth of the Knitters, Los Angeles' semi-legendary cow-punk band.
My small group included my Better Half, as well as Bob and Lynne, two dear friends whom I had introduced to Dave Alvin's music a couple of years earlier. We had great seats, about five rows back.
Surprisingly, the evening kicked off not with the full lineup, but only with John Doe and Dave Alvin. The two of them delivered Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" and one other song before being joined by singer Exene Cervenka, drummer DJ Bonebrake and bassist Jonny Ray Bartel.
Another surprise: we didn't get to hear much of Dave Alvin's great voice. Standing somewhat isolated on the right side of the stage and keeping a relatively low profile, Dave focused primarily on playing his electric guitar and I did enjoy watching him in a role that was so different from my previous all-acoustic encounters with him. Most of the vocal duties were handled by John and Exene, with the latter bringing to stage a distinct punk attitude that must have lingered on from her days with X.
The setlist included both covers and originals. We got to hear the old traditional "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane", "Give Me Flowers While I’m Living" from the repertoire of Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Driftwood’s "Long Chain" and "Born To Be Wild", the Steppenwolf's signature song. From X's repertoire we got to hear "New World".
Overall, it was a fun night. The Getty is a great place to see a show, never mind the driving distance to get there.
|The entrance to the Harold M. Williams Auditorium|
|The Harold M. Williams Auditorium|