Review: Steve Earle, 28th Sept Belfast

‘The peoples’ lyricist’By Tommy Black On September the 28th the first official evening of autumn, the man with ‘attitude’ Steve Earle performed at the Open House Festival 2009, at Customs Square, Belfast.  

Two hours of an energetic acoustic set, accompanied with a narrative that was both witty and commutative. An audience made up of a variety of age groups, from the young fans who for various reasons are drawn to his unique form of music, and to an old timer like me who had a limited knowledge as to what he has recorded.

Each age group was rewarded with the skills and talent of Steve Earle, the peoples’ lyrists and musician. What seemed to come over was that overwhelming loyalty from the fans. The way they responded to each number he sang and played was that of people who agreed with what he has written into his lyrics and music. In return, Earle kept this continual narrative between each song, ranging from the times when he was not so compos mentis, out off his brains, due to drink and drugs, also to the time when he was homeless. All these stories were made to be laughed with, and rightly so. But there was one story that he kept referring to. That was about his friendship, and sometimes not so friendly relationship with his mentor and contemporary, Townes Van Zandt (I’m led to believe Steve called his son Justin Towns Earle, after Townes). Even though the stories were humorous, I could sense a more profound and meaningful relationship between the two.

On the menu was Blues, Country and a little bit, just a little bit of so called ‘Irish’ with ‘Galway Girl’. What got my juices flowing were ‘Copperhead Road’ and Tom Wait’s ‘Down In The Hole’ and many, many more too numerous to mention, but not forgotten. 

What really had a enormous impact on me (besides the music) was Earle’s wit, with off the cuff lines the likes of, ‘there are two kinds of music, there is skip de do da and the blues, well I know what kind of music I’m going to play’. And play he did. A non-stop performance from start to finish.

Previous Article

Postal workers vote for strike action

Next Article

Review - A ‘dis-Service’ to Leon Trotsky

Related Posts

“They’re all in this together” Fight their cutbacks

The massive spending cuts the new “Con-Dem” government will announce in June’s emergency budget will be the first stage of an unrelenting attack on working class people, sustained over years. Despite the veneer of opposition from some MLA’s, the local politicians are fully committed to implementing this Thatcherite agenda.

This will amount to a colossal re-distribution of wealth away from workers to bail-out the banks and big business and will “Con-Dem” us to a future of attacks on vital public services, job losses, pay cuts, reductions in state benefits and increases in the retirement age, amongst other attacks.


George Lee & De Burca Fly Away

In the vast acreage of print devoted to last week’s two political retirees, former parliamentarians George Lee and Deirdre de Burca, there was little recognition of the real lessons which are, that personality politics holds nothing in the way of a solution to either our economic or political problems and secondly that ordinary people should not put any faith in establishment political parties or politicians.

For some the spectacle was highly amusing. As the air thickened with recrimination between the pair and their political parties, for some reason the writer Flann O’Brien came strongly to mind. Perhaps it was that I remembered reading that his fractious relationship with his political masters caused him to resign amid, it was said memorably, ‘a cacophony of f**ks.’ Or maybe it was a subconscious association of the departees with the title of one of his famous books, ‘At Swim Two Birds.’