Dave Alvin, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist, and younger brother of Phil Alvin, was at one time a Pleasure Baron. The Barons were a San Diego band formed in 1989 by Country Dick Montana, who was a founding member of the Beat Farmers. The other Baron was Mojo Nixon, a local headliner at area venues such as the Spirit Club, Bodie’s, and the Spring Valley Inn. They toured twice and released a CD, Live in Las Vegas. The Barons specialty was goofball rockers such as Montana’s “Ultimate Tom Jones Medley,” on which Alvin performed with rootsy glee.
The Blasters were Dave Alvin’s early ticket to fame, a band he started with his brother. Dave eventually left to join X. He’s been a member of the Knitters, the Gun Club, the Flesh Eaters, and the Guilty Women. Throughout, Dave Alvin hasn’t strayed from his particular style, especially when you consider that his performance roots are in post-punk Los Angeles, when Los Lobos and the Blasters and Black Flag often shared the same stage. “There are two types of folk music: quiet folk music and loud folk music,” Alvin says on his website. “I play both.”
Now comes Eleven Eleven, a collection of loud character sketches. The ghost of Bo Diddley ripples and shimmers behind the songs, stuff that Alvin calls fictional autobiography. The hook lies in Alvin’s ability to draw portraits that connect us to our truths. “When we met, we were both livin’ far from home/ Tryin’ to get by and tired of bein’ alone/ And for a moment, I thought she was mine.”
The Tilt also performs.
DAVE ALVIN & THE GUILTY ONES: Belly Up, Tuesday, August 16, 8:30 p.m. 858-481-8140. $17, $19 day of show.