Sore limbs and buzzing ears ... Dwight Yoakam. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Enmore Theatre, November 16
Reviewer's rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
CALL it a reversal of country music mores, or maybe an inverse hierarchy: this band glitters while Dwight Yoakam denims. Tight denims, naturally, topped with a lived-in hat of the genus cowboy, pulled characteristically low over the eyes.
The fact is Yoakam is far less about posturing and big belt-buckle cliches and far more about putting on the kind of show which might induce sweat, sexual energy, sore limbs and buzzing ears. The kind of show which lives up to the title and kinetic drive of his recently recorded Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (''and loud loud music''), Joe Maphis's homage to Buck Owens's performances in small, hot rooms to large, hot audiences.
Unfortunately for Yoakam (and for us), this was not that room and this was not that audience. Save for a few outliers who lined the side walls to swing and jump through the night, and those hardy few who headed to the front only to be sent back by the officious fun police, this crowd enjoyed the show seated and slow. Which is nice for them but hardly doing justice to the kick-up-your-heels of Under Your Spell Again, the honky-tonk twisting of What Do You Know About Love? or, for that matter, his re-re-arrangement of Elvis Presley's Little Sister, now with added stride and southern blues groove.
If the audience energy level was in inverse proportion to their age, Yoakam's voice was seemingly in defiance of his age. He whooped and hollered and hiccupped - and twisted, scooted and booted - but was equally effective crooning the '50s-style R&B ballad If There Was a Way and the Roy Orbison moves of A Thousand Miles From Nowhere.
Bar for the truly awful tone and unbalanced sound of his acoustic guitar for the first half-hour, the only real complaint in this two-hour show was that there were not enough songs from his excellent new album 3 Pears. Speaking of which, there's talk he'll be back early in 2013. Maybe we'll be standing and dancing then.