Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Beacon Theater, NYCone of or favorite song writers played a new favorite venue of ours, now another favorite song writer plays an old favorite venue of ours with Jason Isbell putting on a stellar show at the Beacon Theater.
Isbell is riding a high after winning two Grammy's, having his albums praised and clearly madly in love with his wife, violinist Amanda Shires, and his newborn baby. The glowing Isbell played songs from all aspects of his career and each one shows pieces of what makes him a great songwriter/singer/player and most songs are the complete package, dropping jaws with their nuance power and style.
His transformation into a Southern Springsteen took another step as he was clad in all black and looked in top shape as he and the backing 400 Unit took the stage to the closing strains of "Promised Land" a fantastic omen. The band tour into "Palmetto Rose" and the night never looked back, great tune after great tune followed.
Some highlights to point out were the huge tom drums that put a cap on emotional "Cover Me", the Rolling Stones licks/vibes that were injected into "We Ain't Ever Gonna Change" and the twangy pop of "Takes A Lifetime" which received a huge cheer and showed up around the same time on Late Night TV having been recorded earlier in the day.
The solo "Dress Blues" was spine tingling in its cinematic scope, as was the film titled "24 Frames". "Something More Than Free" was the only tune that didn't seem to soar as high (or higher) then the original while the solo to close out the set during "Children of Children" prove that Isbell is as good a lead guitarist as he is songwriter.
The band plays with plate glass shaped lighting fixtures turning the Beacon into a beautiful church. This whole environment captures things perfectly as Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit is a religious experience, one RtBE wants to return to again and again for musical inspiration and salvation.
Amazing show from an amazing artist who is better than he ever has been with a band who is lock and step with him. Quick apology to Shovels and Rope who we missed unfortunately. Support him, see him live and peep some video from the show and the full setlist below:
"Cover Me Up" (The toms come in so loud they distort the recording...it sounded great from the loge)
The Life You Chose
Never Gonna Change
Something More Than Free
Cover Me Up
Flying Over Water
Speed Trap Town
If It Takes a Lifetime
Children of Children