Sunday, October 19, 2008

Billy Bragg Keeps the Faith (and rocks) at The State Theatre

Man, I am still buzzing from the killer Billy Bragg (See my interview here) show at the State Theatre in Ithaca, NY this past Saturday. It was without a doubt one of my top shows. It was Billy playing his guitar—mostly electric, but some acoustic as well—on a simple black stage. And I want to say that his influence as a songwriter in general is never questioned, but his amazing guitar playing is not often singled out. He really has his own sound on the instrument and I can totally say that he didn’t need a backup band to rock the theater.

His set list was a mix of old, new, and a few covers (Woody Guthrie, The Clash, and Laura Nyro). Attending this show pre-election was really inspirational. Billy Bragg told great stories and really pushed the audience to realize that Election Day is not the end. It is the only the beginning and that we’re voting for the entire world that needs the change that an Obama Presidency has the hope of bringing. And to never loose hope and keep the faith.

One of the many powerful moments was his playing of “Levi Stubbs Tears.” Levi Stubbs, the lead singer of the Four Tops, had died the day before and you could tell that Billy was really affected by this.

He’s also very gracious. Billy came out and signed after the show, so I was able to thank him for the interview and get a CD signed for The Young Man and Miss T. He had picked up the Tompkins Weekly, which had my interview with him in it. There were quite a few people waiting to meet him and to get things signed and he said that he would stay as long as people wanted him to.

The Watson Twins opened the show with a lovely set. They also came out and met people and signed. They were super friendly and gracious as well.

Check out their hand written set lists and Billy Bragg singing Woody Guthrie's "Ain't Got No Home" below.

Billy Bragg Set List on the top left. Watson Twins on the bottom right.


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