They’ve got another CD-release show at Joe’s at 9:30 tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 24). Tickets, $30, are available here. Book now. If you miss it, you’ll be sorry.
We made it to the first set on Monday night. The playing was tight, Stew told stories in his usual, elliptically compelling way, and Heidi Rodewald, his collaborator, weighed in with a few gentle barbs in her usual way. The band featured the inimitable Marty Beller on drums along with various members of The Loser’s Lounge extended family, including Joe McGinty on keys, Urbano Sanchez on percussion, plus a horn section comprising Mike McGinnis, Brian Drye, Jeff Hermanson and Jacob Garchik.
While the early set focused on songs from the new album, officially out today, Passing Strange fans got satisfaction from the encore at the first show last night. He recast “Freight Train,” a rousing gospel-rock tune from Stew and Heidi’s Broadway show, with a wraparound intro. It set the familiar song into the context of a small child (presumably a version of Stew) encountering a street person – one of those crazy dudes decked out in aluminum foil contraptions. Sounds weird, but Stew made it relatable. And as a result, the familiar “Freight Train” morphed into something fresh.