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Anders Osborne at Teragram Ballroom

April 24, 2017

photo credit: Jim Brock

In a shift from the Troubadour, a venue at which he’s made his last three appearances in Los Angeles, to downtown L.A.’s Teragram Ballroom, Anders Osborne returned to the basics of his heavyweight brand of rock and roll. Fronting his New Orleans-based quartet, Osborne lit the fuse on a 15-minute “Sarah Anne,” with its reggae kick morphing into an extended workout, that had him trading impassioned guitar solos with his six-string counterpart, Eric McFadden. The opener proved indicative of things to come.

Early in the two-hour set, the focus stayed fixed on the fretboard firepower. Whether a groovy “Back on Dumaine” that segued into a swinging, impromptu “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad,” or with the downbeat clout of “Five Bullets,” Osborne and crew engaged and cultivated the jams, away from some of the breezier repertoire that has graced his last two records. He said very little to the crowd, aside from a few quick shouts of gratitude, choosing instead to keep the music moving.

No doubt, he was tailoring to his band’s formidable strengths- the four-piece carrying longtime bassist Carl Dufresne and drummer Brady Blade, as well, is one potent unit. Even Osborne, himself, a wonderfully expressive and gifted guitarist, nevertheless ceded many of the solos to the impressive McFadden. Further into the show, Osborne played gracious host, welcoming guest guitarist Chris Masterson, on “Love is Taking Its Toll,” easing into Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” then inviting guitar wizard DJ Williams, of Karl Denson fame, to spice up “Annabel.”

Turning to a funky take on “Echoes of My Sins,” Osborne let loose, swaying back and forth as if summoning notes from beyond, searching for the worthiest, and turned out one of the highlights of the evening- no easy task given all of the talent that had been onstage throughout. To close, he opted for the title track of his latest, “Flower Box,” and a Neil Young-inspired ride through guitar glory. A two-song encore culminated with a beautiful and ponderous “Louisiana Gold,” with Osborne fingerpicking on acoustic and McFadden on glistening mandolin.

This being the Saturday night before Easter, and the first weekend of Coachella in nearby Palm Springs, likely accounted for a near-miss at a deserved sold-out house. Regardless, Anders Osborne and his band gave a shining, thrilling, and special performance, offering their finest to those that were there. And, certain regrets for those that were not.