On February 13, 1997, Alex Chilton was to play the final night of a two-night booking at New York’s Knitting Factory. A problem arose, though: the power went out. Chilton, however, being a true performer, simply pulled out his acoustic guitar, while his drummer Richard Dwarkin set up a basic drum kit, and he simply decided to play his favorite songs. It’s a fun set; while Chilton may have been known for writing painfully honest, beautiful love songs, letting down his hair in this environment provides a wonderfully new picture of a complex songwriter. His songs range from old standards (“If I Had A Hammer,” “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “A Case of You”), country songs (“D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Lovesick Blues”), and even a handful of Beach Boys songs (“Surfer Girl,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”). While the title Electricity by Candlelight is an appropriate one, the vibe of the whole affair–loose, ramshackle, lighthearted–leads me to think it could rightly be called Alex Chilton Party!, simply because this show–which often turns into an audience sing-along–is really a lot of fun. Electricity by Candlelight NYC 2/13/97 is a fine addition to the Chilton canon, and a fun time for all.
Categories: Album Reviews