Show Review + Videos: Alec Ounsworth at the 400 Bar
The last time I saw Alec Ounsworth at the 400 Bar, it was a few years back at an uber packed show for his main band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. This last Tuesday, I again saw him at the 400 bar, but this time it was him playing material from his solo works (and also sporting a pretty awesome wild west mustache). While it was not nearly as crowded as his last show, Ounsworth showed again his songwriting strengths and put together a really strong set.
Backed up by a four piece band dressed in old fashioned suits, the group tore through an impassioned set featuring material from Ounsworth’s first solo album Mo Beauty, his album under his Flashy Python moniker and some re-worked Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Tracks. Ounsworth manned the keyboards and was backed up by a powerful band that boasted two guitars (one of which occasionally switch to lap steel), bass and drums. Eschewing the twitching sounds of his main band, his sound was more simple and straightforward, with blues and delta sounds creeping into the tracks. Even the old CYHSY tracks came across as more rustic in the hands of his new band. The songs often reminded me more of the dusty swagger of Dr. Dog than of the sounds I had been used to from Ounsworth.
While he certainly isn’t going to reach the dizzying heights of CYHSY with his solo project, the group seemed to bring out the inner Nick Cave in Ounsworth, allowing him to channel his powerful and compelling songwriting into direct and engaging material. Although it lacked the commercial fanfare and adoring crowds of his last visit, I would argue Ounsworth’s latest project may be his best life outfit yet and hopefully will have influence on any future CYHSY projects he may be working on.