Jack Logan looked more like a guy who'd deliver the beer to the Troubadour than someone who'd headline the rock club, but there he was on Wednesday, a swimming pool motor repair man in his mid-30s from Georgia, howling from the blue-collar fringe.
Logan's story hook has earned him a lot of ink in the past couple of years. After writing prolifically and playing and recording with his Athens-area buddies strictly for their own pleasure for more than a decade, he surfaced with a two-hour, two-CD album, "Bulk," in 1994, and followed it with the more disciplined "Mood Elevator" earlier this year.
Critical acclaim and a cult following grew rapidly for Logan's music--an edgy, eccentric brand of heartland noir that's grim and funny, bitter and self-lacerating, cryptic and cinematic. It captures lovers at the breaking point and loners past it--like the headless body fished out of the Pacific in "Floating Cowboy."
With his songwriting a given, the question at the Troubadour show--Logan's highest-profile L.A. appearance to date--concerned his live approach. As an ungroomed natural, would he be earnest and amateurish? As a non-careerist outsider, would he be defiantly casual?
The answer was an hour-plus set of ferocious, fundamental rock 'n' roll from Logan and his band, Liquor Cabinet. There were some repetitive moments, but Logan's earthy, focused singing and unpretentious manner were engaging, and the group had the tireless energy and spirited, instinctive interplay of a classic bar band.
* Jack Logan & Liquor Cabinet play tonight at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 8 p.m. $10-$12. (714) 496-8927. Also Saturday at the Belly Up, 143 S. Cedros Ave., Solana Beach, 7:30 p.m. $8. (619) 481-9022.