Soul Asylum, Ace of Spades, Sacramento; 6th April 2013, a set on Flickr.The room was not-so-far from empty; bar area full, a few rows of people standing, others around the edge or sitting on the sofas by the back wall.
Surprisingly few people had turned out to see Soul Asylum and the two supporting, local-Sacramento bands, Fair Struggle and A Single Second. Very few.
I wondered why... surely, many more still had "Runaway Train" somewhere, in the back of their heads, playing on repeat. Or was it just me?
The first few numbers of the set, and I wasn't so sure that the people who had stayed-away had made the right decision. The songs seemed disjointed, forgotten, as if no-one knew exactly where they were, or even what day or town it was. Playing to an almost-empty room might do that to you.
But then they played Black Gold. A "fracking Fracking song, about fracking Fracking". And everything changed, and everything came together, and suddenly the audience seemed to have swollen and grown, and everyone was cheering and happy. Dave Pirner's vocals became stronger, and he more articulate, and String of Pearls was a gem, and Pirner's a poet. It no longer mattered that the audience was small: the band was one with the people. Pirner joked and teased the intros for the best-loved songs... Runaway Train he wrote, yesterday, after seeing a lot of railway tracks. He must have been to Roseville. Right?
Full set of photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alisontoon/sets/72157633184512055/