Monday, March 27, 2006
Billy Bragg came back to the Somerville Theatre on his 'Hope Not Hate' tour last Thursday... just the man, his guitar, and a well-worn voice that registered a little lower than usual. He attributed this ragged edge to all the touring and talking he's been doing in support of his recently released box set, Volume 1, especially the "180 interviews and 70 gigs" he did at SXSW. He's using the new low range to develop a new persona called "Johnny Clash", which is "sort of low, and kinda cockney, kinda political, kinda country and slow...". He predicted a set that was 'low and lonesome', but it was far from either.
You know you're in for a good bit of between-song banter at a Billy Bragg gig, and this one exceeded all previous. A two hour show with maybe 45 minutes of top-notch ramblin', ranging from the usual subjects (politics, women, and Woody Guthrie) to the not-so-usual (indie kid fasion at SXSW, curling, and King Kong's anatomical incorrectness). Fortunately for us, he also brought along a few new songs: a touching number about Rachel Corrie, a little Bush-basher, one about having faith in the American people, and a brand new one that he wrote that very night.
Now, when most singers mention they've written a new song 'since soundcheck', they're likely joking or exaggerating a bit. But not Billy. He penned something likely titled "People Are On The Move" just before the show, and my being an ex-college DJ from Vermont, it sorta spoke to me. The first couple verses...
I've got a friend who lives in Vermont
Couldn't find the music he wants
Sick and tired of the corporations
Went and started his radio station
Now he's on the air each day
Tellin' the people about another way
He plays Billy Bragg and a bit of Green Day
and "I'm so bored with the U.S.A!"
Here's Billy's entire set, including every spoken word...
Live at the Somerville Theatre
Thursday, March 23rd, 2006
01. Train Train
(DeFleur / The Count Bishops)
02. A Lover Sings
03. ramble 1
04. Greetings to the New Brunette
05. ramble 2
06. The Myth of Trust
07. ramble 3
08. John Barleycorn / England, Half-English
09. ramble 4
10. The Wolf Covers Its Tracks
11. Like Soldiers Do
12. ramble 5
13. All You Fascists Bound to Lose (Guthrie)
14. Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
15. ramble 6
16. Ingrid Bergman (Guthrie)
17. ramble 7
18. The Saturday Boy
19. The Story of Rachel Corrie (new)
20. Help Save the Youth of America
21. World Turned Upside Down
22. ramble 8
24. ramble 9
25. I Keep Faith (new)
26. Pinball Wizard vs. Fulsom Prison Blues (Who / Cash)
27. ramble 10
28. People Are on the Move (very, very new)
29. ramble 11
30. Bush War Blues (new)
31. ramble 12
32. To Have and To Have Not
33. There Is Power in a Union
34. A New England
According to the man himself (and as you'll hear in one of the rambles above), the Volume 2 box set should be out in October, as should a book Billy's been working on for a year about "Englishness, identity, and belonging", inspired by the political situation back in his hometown.
A couple of links...
The postscript: If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (email link on left).
Songs recorded with a Sony minidisc, converted from .wav to 192kbps mp3s, and are made available for a few weeks.
With such a crazy week of shows now ended, I've got a backlog of live stuff to edit down and share up. I've decided to post them in reverse order, so first was Mr. Bragg, and soon I'll have some stellar sets from Th' Faith Healers, Silver Jews, and New Radiant Storm King. Waiting seven days to share up each might be tough, so I may end up breakin' my own rules...
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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