Friday, April 05, 2013

Billy Bragg Aladdin Theater Aplril 2nd 2013

 On the second of this week on a stumbling Tuesday, I caught a live show from one of the first artist that shifted my mind from mainstream media.
Back in the the mid 8o's, and freshly stupid from public high school I was lucky enough to catch some stray radio waves from KBOO a local public radio station. I think the show was called definitive pop, but cant recall. Armed with a cassette recorder, I would listen through the night as music would pour into my single room, in the Fairfield Hotel, where I rented from in that era. Taking my Rock and Roll notes, I would wait for the next days sun, run  downstairs and make my way to the corner of S.W. 11th and Stark into Django used Record shop. With my notes in hand I spent hours in the record bins forging my knowledge forward. I soon developed a vinyl habit that squeezed on my dead end job wallet. Back then Portland's used record shops were all over town and each shop filled a special niche for my fix. A time before the CD, a time that doesn't really exist much in this day. even with recent vinyl revival. Good times.

 With April 2nd 2013 in my lungs, The wife and I were happy to experience the Aladdin theater, up on stage Billy Bragg. His early songs had such a influence on me,  my mind thinking in ways that definitely changed my life. Its rare that modern musicians do such. He taught me how to focus my teen rebellions on issues that mattered. This was the first time I had seen him live, and satisfied my now aged bucket. Supporting his new album Tooth and Nail his bearded tour covered a lot of material from his career. I found it very reflective, and was impressed with his ability to address the drinking hecklers with a pointing finger, sharp political tongue, and worldly perspective. His band that rotated on and off the stage played tight to the songs with a comfortable relaxed nature. I must admit the early songs that Ive carried with me for years were just touched upon, gathering a boot from my ass for not seeing him when those songs were fresh from the Bragg tree. Songs like: Man in a Iron mask, Greetings To The New Brunette ,Levi Stubbs', I could on and on with this boot. He did open the show with Ideology and later shared There Is Power In A Union, The Milkman Of Human Kindness, and To Have and To Have Not, mid-set. along with his dedications to Woody Guthrie with a haunting I Ain't Got No Home, and later songwriting including new cuts from Tooth and Nail.

Billy was able to craft a show that makes one question their luxury. and gave a comfort to the active working class, regardless of the labels so many want to attach in this age. After the show Billy hung out at the swag counter to "arm wrestle with fans". With a high crowd level and a late weeknight I was unable to make my way through the fanfare to thank him for his ongoing influences.
It would have been nice to share some rust.