Jason Isbell is an outstanding performer.
He took charge of the stage and his band, the 400 Unit, and put on quite a show from the very beginning. By the second song, I had forgotten that he had ever consorted with any Truckers at all. Starting out his performance with "Down in a Hole" (which I always thought was called “Trouble” before I bought the album) was brilliant and surprising. Then he jumped right into "Try". ("You can’t make a woman sleep alone, but you try don’t you? You can’t make her stay her ass at home.")
The band seemed to really enjoy themselves with a rockin’ "Brand New Kind of Actress"and a couple more from his Sirens of the Ditch album released earlier this year. Then he reached back in the DBT archives for one. Surprise! I couldn’t believe it when he whipped out "Decoration Day". What an unexpected treat!
And "Outfit"! Everybody’s favorite. "Outfit "is the song I quote to answer the “Who in the hell is Jason Isbell and where do you find these guys?” question that I get a lot from my country-music-listening friends. C’mon, you know, Drive By Truckers? Jason wrote “Don’t Call What You’re Wearin’ an Outfit, Call Home on Your Sister’s Birthday”. It’s one of those good songs that’s just good, I don’t care who you are. (Like Guy Clark’s Stuff That Works)
I know I digress – but I’m tired and still excited about this show. Jason’s band is wonderful and so is he and the only way that performance could have been better is if he’d been headlining and we could have gotten more, more, more. He opened for Cracker. Next time he comes through, he’ll be headlining, I betcha.
Cracker was sounding pretty damned good, too, but then I got really drunk and fell down and got hauled out of there by security. I still love the Fox. It’s just the greatest place to see a show. But if you fall down, get up really quick!