Friday, February 09, 2007

The Nightwatchman at Hotel Café Los Angeles, Tuesday Night Residency

Guitar star Tom Morello is best known for intergalactic riffs and the uncanny ability to make his six-string sound like everything from scratching turntables to charging elephants, first with Rage Against The Machine and now Audioslave. As The Nightwatchman, this fervent political activist shows that there’s more than one way to take the power back. Instead of his customary bombast, Morello makes a folksy acoustic turn, crafting stark, plaintive musings akin to Woody Guthrie and even Johnny Cash. Although with his deep, baritone croon, Morello’s solo vocalizing can sound eerily reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. His past Hotel Café shows have been benefits for such outreach collectives as Food Not Bombs and his own Axis of Justice, while friends like Perry Farrell and Serj Tankian often join him onstage, so anything’s possible.

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 1/07)