Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Deano And The Purvs Fit Well Opening For The Sadies
I see Chicago's Waco Brothers every chance I get, and Jon Langford has become an annual visitor to Toronto for shows with The Sadies and the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus, but other Waco side projects don't make it to town too often.
So it was great that singer/guitarist Deano Waco (or Dean Schlabowske as he's known in his other life as a wine store owner) made the trip north of the border with three members of Austin, Texas high-octane bluegrass outfit The Meat Purveyors (guitarist Bill Anderson, mandolin player Pete Stiles and singer Jo Stanli Walston) to open for The Sadies' public CD release show for Darker Circles on Saturday night at Lee's Palace.
I admit that I'm a bigger fan of the Wacos and Deano's other band, Dollar Store, than the tracks that can be downloaded for free from his web site in this latest collaboration, which bills itself as Deano Waco And The Purvs. But the quartet really brought the songs to life during its 16-song set in front of a steadily growing audience. There were no drums or bass, but the mix of Deano's electric and Anderson's acoustic (they swapped near the end of the set) guitars and Stiles' mandolin virtuosity made you forget that fact.
The band opened with "Workin' For The Devil" and hit my favourite of its songs, "Vacant Lot," a bit later. The show progressed with "Taken," "Reality Blues," "Maid Of The Mist" and one of the most heavily bluegrass-based tunes of the night, the fine "Box Store." There was a great mandolin solo in "Bottle Of Wine" and "Stuck In The Mud" rocked harder than anything else in the set.
Deano And The Purvs ended on a surprise high note, a cover of The Adverts' 1977 punk classic "Gary Gilmore's Eyes," which Deano had recorded on the 2002 compilation, The Executioner's Last Songs, Vol. I.
The Sadies followed and I've seen and written about the Toronto band so often that I elected not to take notes and just enjoy the show and the company of the many friends who came out to show their support. 
The group played a fine mix of old favourites and Darker Circles material. Dallas and Travis Good's mother Margaret came out and sang a few songs, and Ron Sexsmith joined in for sterling covers of Johnny Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way" and The Who's "The Seeker."
The Sadies brought things home in the encore by blending "Gloria" and "Baby, Please Don't Go," the A- and B-sides of a great 1964 single by the Van Morrison-fronted Them. It was a brilliant way to cap the night off at Lee's. 
But the party continued at my friends' Jeff and Tara's place, where the musicians and some insiders returned for conversation, several Keith's and Big Fat Burritos (thanks again for those, Mike). I've talked to Deano numerous times over the years, but it was nice to meet The Purvs, who were also swell folks.
When the always gracious hosts wanted to go to bed, a couple of other pals and I moved a block down the street for a couple of nightcaps. I arrived home at 7 a.m.
Good times.

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