Wednesday, August 4, 2010

AMY COOK at Cactus Cafe 7-28-10

Writing about this show a week after it happened and as I look back at the calendar, I see it was the final part of a trifecta of performances that were off the charts.  The 1st was Ray Bonneville the week before at the Cactus, 2nd was Jess Klein that Saturday at Wyldwood and then this thing...!
This was a last minute show, no cover and I thought it would be cool to see her in such an intimate space.  
I wondered who would be in the band since I knew her regular lead guitarist, Jake Owen, was out on tour with Sahara Smith.  Never even gave it a thought as to what was about to happen.  The stage was definitely set up for a full band.  Looking back toward the bar, I saw David Pulkingham hanging out and thought, holy hell, he's gonna play with Amy tonight!  About 2 seconds later, looked back again and there is Alejandro Escovedo and David Garza!  At this point I thought I might pass out.  I knew this was going to be one for the ages.  You could feel the electricity in the room.
You gotta remember, the Cactus is tiny and Alejandro and David don't ever play tiny!  Man, what a show!!
Amy took the stage with David, a drummer and bass player.  Intense, she was!  Oh my God.  She and David really played off each other.  Truly fantastic.  Then David Garza comes up to play piano.  Good Lord!  At one point, I think it was on "Moonrise," there was no piano part so David started beating on the top part of the piano.  He just had to play.  It was a really cool moment.  Beating on that piano like it was a drum.
Amy brought Alejandro up for the last part of the show.  They played one of his songs, "Down in the Bowery."  She sounded great on it.  They closed the show with "Let the Light In."  To put his appearance in perspective, exactly one week before he had been on David Letterman, played a show that David Byrne, Jesse Malin and Ian Hunter all sat in on and only 5 days before, he'd played at the Stone Pony in New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen sat in on 3 songs!  Now, here we are in Austin at the intimate Cactus, a free show and look what happens!
Besides the hoopla with Alejandro, Amy was terrific.  We heard just about everything from "Let the Light In."  I probably should have mentioned, Alejandro produced this record.  And, as stated above, she was intense, passionate and prowling that stage like she owned it.  She also did one fantastic cover of the Janes Addiction song "Jane Says."
Alright, I've gone on too long but bottom line, this is a night all of us who were there (it was jammed!) will always treasure.

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