Austin based trio Hot Club of Cowtown and Venice, California based The Dustbowl Revival are touring together in celebration of The Band’s fiftieth anniversary. Last night found them at the beautiful California Center for the Arts in Escondido, California. CCAE is home to a concert hall, a smaller theatre and a conference center. Last night’s show was an intimate show in the latter. Both of the groups played selections from The Band’s first two albums, “Music From Big Pink” and “The Band,” in addition to their own original tunes.
Hot Club of Cowtown is Elana James on fiddle, Whit Smith on guitar and Jake Erwin on upright bass. All three members share vocal duties. They opened the show with a cover of The Band’s “Look Out Cleveland.” Other The Band songs they covered included “This Wheel’s On Fire,” “When You Awake” and Evangeline.” They also did an amazing bluesy rendition of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall be Released.”
Originals included the ever popular ”Ida Red,” “Chinatown” and a fun song written by Elana James after attending a school reunion, aptly entitled “Reunion.”
For their finale the trio was joined on stage by the eight-member Dustbowl Revival for a cover of the tour’s title song “Across the Great Divide.”
After a twenty-minute intermission, The Dustbowl Revival took the stage and started their set with a couple covers of The Band, “Don’t Do It” and “ The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” They also covered “The Weight” after a couple originals including “Busted” and “Good Egg.”
Zachary Lupetin, guitar and vocals, tried to encourage the mostly older crowd to come up front and dance with very little success. They did manage to get a few of the younger folks up there though. Finally with a rousing rendition of the New Orleans inspired “”Aint’ My Fault” an older gentleman jumped up and started dancing complete with waving handkerchief.
In addition to Zachary, Dustbowl Revival is Liz Beebe (vocals,ukulele), Daniel Mark (mandolin), Connor Vance (fiddle), Matt Rubin (trumpet), Ulf Bjorlin (trombone), James Klopfleisch ( bass), and Joshlyn Heffernan (drums).
Hot Club of Cowtown came back on stage for the last couple songs “Rag Mama Rag” and “Up On Cripple Creek.”
Though the venue wasn’t really designed for music both bands handled it well. Zachary joked he felt like he was playing somebody’s Bar Mitzvah.
Though I think much of the crowd was there to hear the songs of The Band both groups ended up with new fans at the end of the night. Check out our interview of Zach Lupetin, here: Interview: Zach Lupetin of Dustbowl Revival on Transcendent Revivals and Crossing Journeys