Tonight, Dave Alvin looks like a man out to settle an old score. With his gunslinger necktie and low-slung guitar, he fires off endless streams of ballistic invective, mostly aimed at Phil, his big barrel-shaped brother and Blasters frontman.
The fabled legend of Dave and Phil Alvin and the band they formed in Downey, California is straight out of the sibling rivalry rock'n'roll handbook that stretches from Don and Phil Everly all the way up to Noel and Liam Gallagher.
On the intro tape, Johnny Cash's austerely remorseless "The Man Comes Around" sets the mood, then Colin MacIntyre's men come pounding out of the traps. For this mini tour, the school choir, feather boa and inflatable sheep of previous expeditions have been packed away, in favour of frill-free punk aggression.
Kathleen Edwards was one of the highlights of this year's South By Southwest Festival in Austin. Surely, I thought, she couldn't sound as good on a dull Wednesday night in a dingy London basement. But she could and she did.
The buzz created by her debut, Failer, attracted some top London record company bosses to her first ever UK date. Among those were alt. country specialists Loose—although if they have designs on her, they must have been dismayed by the competition, which included Warner's chief, John Reed.
And he surely could not have failed to be impressed.