Pete Anderson – Antone’s (Austin, TX)
Eight days away from Denver, the time between home and back filled with I-70, I-35 and I-10, a “getting there” stop at The Backyard in Austin for a balmy night of beer and music with Boz Scaggs, a road trip to New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage Festival complete with its exotic fuels and assorted excesses, and a “going home” Austin foray for a hot shower at the Travelodge, a table full of food at the Boiling Pot, a stroll up Sixth Street for the Pecan Street Festival, and a last-gasp-stuporific-but-game evening at Antone’s to catch Pete Anderson.
On the strength of a new CD, Dogs in Heaven (released by his own label, Little Dog Records), Anderson played to a respectable Sunday night crowd and supplied the requisite good loud music, engaging wit and a pretty nice surprise before he sent us on home.
Anderson’s band, Gun Dog, includes Jim Christie (drums), Taras Prodaniuk (bass) and Skip Edwards (accordion/keyboards). Their sound retained the trademark razor-sharpness but existed, stylistically, in the cloud somewhere between rocked-out Texas blues and the out-and-out twang of their other band, the Dwight Yoakam “experience”. The set was comprised of an almost 50/50 split of tunes between the old and the new CDs; standouts included the instrumental “Dogs in Heaven”, the Anderson/Kostas collaboration “Feels Like Mississippi”, his first disc’s “Working Class”, and crowd fave “Blue Hour”.
About an hour or so into the proceedings, Yoakam himself ambled onstage for a quick set that included “Fast As You”, “Little Sister”, “1,000 Miles”, and a flat-out rave-up version of “Mystery Train”. Before leaving the stage with a veritable Hale-Bopp trail of female fans trailing him back to the dressing room, His Dwightness apologized for horning in on Anderson’s show, but it didn’t seem as if anyone in the crowd was the least bit put out by the unexpected appearance. In fact, his presence seemed to provide a shot of adrenaline that carried through the remainder of the show.
After a week of seemingly endless interstate highways and virtually endless live music, it was easy to feel just a bit jaded, if not exhausted, by the time we rolled into Antone’s. But at risk of over-intellectualizing, Pete Anderson and the Gun Dogs play real good music that goes great with beer, and they provided a fine antidote to any would-be road-trip malaise. It may not have been the transcendent musical experience one often hopes for when plunking down precious ticket dollars, but it sure helped get us through those last eight hundred miles home.