By the time I realized I should have been keeping track of Steve Earle's F-bombs, it was already too late. The foul mouthed singer-songwriter, backed by his band The Dukes and opening act The Mastersons, played his way through an intimate set that clocked in at over two hours and included over thirty songs, many songs from his newest album Terraplane and some old favorites.
“I’ve written a lot of fucking songs” Earle said about halfway through the set.
Earle, dressed in jeans, a black vest, tee shirt and cowboy boots, switched often between an acoustic guitar, electric guitar and mandolin—and sometimes harmonica—throughout the evening. Many of his greatest hits became sing-a-longs for the sold-out State Room crowd, including Copperhead Road, about which Earle said, “Now everyone on probation and parole can go home before their ankle bracelets blow the fuck up.”
Before playing ‘Sparkle and Shine’ Earle noted that he had reached the “Chick-song portion of the program,” adding that he has to include songs that keep women coming to his shows. Otherwise, he said, when he looks out in the crowd its like “looking into a fucking mirror.” He added that there is “No direct correlation between the quality of the girl and the quality of the song” he writes for his muses before mumbling, “Anyway, these songs are all about me.”
Earle glared at audience members who shouted out requests and stuck to his set list, which included a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe, giving band member Chris Masterson an opportunity to shine on guitar.
Earle and the band played two encores, before the first he gave a touching speech about his 5-year-old son, John Henry, who has autism—urging the audience to help figure out what causes the condition and how to better treat it. He closed the second encore with a rousing cover of The Troggs’ Wild Thing, but before he left the stage he fiddled with the distortion pedals that had been at his feet throughout the night and told the crowd, “I’ll probably see you at the Red Iguana sometime tomorrow.”
Earle will playing The State Room again tonight and the show is not sold out—yet.