"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
About halfway through his set at Juanita's Wednesday night, Alejandro Escovedo told a story about asking his son what he thought of dad's music. The 17-year-old punk rocker bluntly replied, “It's old man music.” And while the younger Escovedo may have intended it as a dismissive slight, dad clearly embraced the description.
Of course, the old man in question was once a punk himself — his band the Nuns opened for the Sex Pistols and their early recordings remain the stuff of legend among serious music fans. But like his fans, Escovedo has grown up since his days of living in the Chelsea Hotel, and his songs reflect it. Wednesday's set bounced between aggressive '70s-era riff rock and the mellower, more contemplative work that is Escovedo's real strength.
Diehard fans were treated to a slew of new material (the band is en route to record a new album in Kentucky). Highlights included the power pop gem “Love is Fools” and another new song written for that punk rock son — a kind of resigned, but still poignant “Forever Young”: “I hope you live long enough to forget half the stuff that I taught you / And when it's all said and done I hope you have your own set of rules to hang on to.”
As if to fully own his son's “old man music” label, Escovedo and band returned for an encore that included Mott the Hoople's “All the Young Dudes,” and, hilariously, but without a touch of irony, a dead-on cover of “Beast of Burden,” complete with Escovedo dropping the guitar and picking up the mic to lead the band, Jagger-style.