The Pleasure Barons are no robber barons. Fans on hand last weekend at the Palomino in North Hollywood got their money’s worth and then some from the 13-piece aggregate, formed and fronted by local lights Dave Alvin, Mojo Nixon and Country Dick Montana. With more than 3 hours of well-rehearsed music, “leave ‘em wanting more” was not the operating maxim.
Alvin is one of Los Angeles’ best songwriters, and this big band pushed him through barnstorm renditions of favorites like “Marie Marie” (from his Blasters years) and “4th of July” (from his X stint). The evening’s tone, however, was set by Montana (on leave from the Beat Farmers) and Nixon (on permanent leave from his senses), who serve up slapstick leaning toward the risque and irreverently sociopolitical.
Dominant music modes: R&B;, country, Vegas.
The last motif was reinforced by a mural of the Strip, tuxes for all (save for the outdoorsy Montana, who looked ready to go hunting), and such choices as a rockin’ “Take a Letter Maria” and a Tom Jones medley.
Amid all the campiness, it might have been nice to hear more of Alvin’s sober songs and less of Nixon’s overbearing mock-Pentecostal preaching. But then, restraint was hardly the buzzword for this pleasurably generous, if overwhelming, hedonistic revue.