Friday Night: Hayes Carll's Burlesque Circus & Sideshow Freakout at House of Blues
"For years our shows have been PG... 13," Hayes Carll said early in his long, long, long set Friday night at House of Blues, as he headlined his own "Burlesque Circus & Sideshow Freakout." "I wanted to up it a notch."
Friday, working bluer seemed to mean a new song, the appropriately naughty two-step "One Bed, Two Girls, and Three Bottles of Wine." Carll said he co-wrote it with Bobby Bare Jr., one of his Americana brethren who is also equal parts traditionalist and reprobate.
Also, there were burlesque dancers between sets. A couple of pasties will always get you an "R."
I'm never sure if not taking many notes at a show means whether it was a good one or a bad one. I took almost none Friday, past writing down song titles for both Carll and opener Corb Lund. (Damn you, Craig Kinsey and Sideshow Tramps, for going on so dad-blasted early.)
My thinking, of course, was that less time scribbling meant more time to soak in some of the sharpest songwriting going on right now under the umbrella of country music, and certainly not because every few minutes another young lady wearing a merry widow would walk by. The top part, mind you... anything else would have made the show NC-17.
Seriously, this is what I wrote down: "Sounds good -- strong," under "Hard Out Here," "Solid groove" for "Faulkner Street," and "Irish jig" under "Bottle In My Hand." That's about all the annotation required. Interpret that as the fewer notes I made, the fewer points I counted off from a set of robust, literate roots-rock that lasted almost two hours.
Or how about this? Carll and his band were in the pocket from the word go, and the sound mix was maybe the best I've ever heard inside House of Blues. Ever.