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Event Review: Joe Jackson @ Somerville Theater
Somerville, MA - June 28, 2006
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
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Artist: Joe Jackson
Title: Joe Jackson @ Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA – June 28, 2006
Genre: Alt Rock

“Music has charms, they say.”

And in the hands of a legendary iconoclast like Joe Jackson, those charms are myriad and multifaceted.

In this new trio format, supported by long-time mates Graham Maby (bass) and Dave Houghton (drums), Jackson mixed up brand new music with some very old music. From the Vaudevillian charms of “Hello. Hello. Who’s Your Lady Friend” (as seen and heard in Joe’s film debut in “The Greatest Game Ever Played”) to the very bold and so-new-I-need-to-use-a-lyric-sheet “Invisible Man,” the Jackson three showed how happy they were to be back in (Greater) Boston after some time away.

Jaunting on stage looking taught and happy, Jackson tinkled into the set with a crowd-hushing reading of “Hometown” that was marked with some strained yelps before a series of arpeggiated waves resolved into the driving rhythms of “Steppin’ Out.” As the crowd roared, Maby snuck onto his perch, offering some spare but impeccably timed supports for the insightful tease “It’s Different for Girls.” Once Houghton had popped in his earbuds and plunked down behind his electronic traps, the trio was ready to tackle the new howling driver “Too Tough” and the peppy rocker ‘Citizen Sane.”

After a groovy step into “Another World,” the trio rumbled into “Obvious” before offering the even more evident rhyme schemes of “Sunglasses in the Rain.” When the ubiquitous request for “Freebird” was tendered, Jackson politely declined, opting instead for a Volume 4 double shot that included the extra-timely New Orleans tribute “Dirty Martini” and the rough and ready “Take it Like a Man.”

Rising from the bench to shake it for an island-tinged rearrangement of “You Can’t Get What You Want,” Jackson shot into a driving take on “One More Time” that left the audience repeating the chorus until he returned for an appreciated encore that included a rousing rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” an album-perfect chant along of “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” and an extended version of “Slow Song” that allowed Maby and Houghton to peel off one at a time, leaving Joe just as they had found him- alone and adored.

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