And that’s good news and bad news. The nearly two-hour performance was a rocking affair, with lead guitarist Pete Anderson given several opportunities to show off at length.
On the down side, the subtler aspects of Yoakam’s songwriting were all but absent, as he judged (and possibly correctly so) that the rowdy young audience wasn’t ready for anything quiet and thoughtful.
New to the band is Anthony Carmichael, adding color to several of the songs via harmonica, mandolin, keyboards and guitar.
Several of the set’s highlights were from the most recent album, notably the title number, with Jim E. Christie’s rolling drums calling to mind Jerry Allison’s work with Buddy Holly; and the sarcastic “Sorry You Asked?” with mariachi trumpets out of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
Of the straight-out rockers, nothing was — or could have been — more powerful than the Rolling Stones tribute “Wild Ride,” or the encore set of uptempo versions of Bill Monroe’s “Can’t You Hear Me Calling” and “Rocky Road Blues,” and Dave Alvin’s nod to Hank Williams, “Long White Cadillac.”
Opener David Ball’s second Warner Bros. album, “Starlite Lounge,” ships imminently. The heavily George Jones-influenced singer made a stronger impression at the House of Blues last year; this time around, his set was again very competently performed, but rather perfunctory.