“It’s taken us 12 years to build this crowd,” the always-acerbic Ike Reilly said during his 90-minute show last night with the Ike Reilly Assassination, sarcastically calling attention to the under-sized audience of about 50 who showed up last night for his Beachland Tavern gig.
But Reilly still played like his heart was in it.
Backed by a terrific four-piece band, the singer-guitarist turned up the volume for anthems like “The Boat Song (We’re Getting Loaded),” “ Girls in the Back Room,” and “Duty Free,” tunes that have hints of alt-country (think Cracker or Todd Snider) but are heavy on power-pop hooks and Dylanesque lyrics.
Reilly dedicated “Hip Hop Thighs” to Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer, and closed his set with the racing “Whatever Happened to the Girl in Me” and “Last Time,” moving his mic stand down onto the Tavern's floor so he could get into people’s faces.
“I think I have fulfilled my contractual obligation,” he said at the set’s conclusion, shaking hands with fans as he made his exit.
He came back for a terrific five-song encore, warning, “Be careful what you wish for. We got nowhere to go, and we’re going to fuck your work day up.”
While his attempts to get the audience to sing Shooter Jennings' parts in “The War on the Terror and the Drugs” — the duet that appears on Reilly's new album, Hard Luck Stories, fell flat — little else did, as the band’s
punchy music sounded particularly vibrant and kept the sparse crowd thoroughly entertained. —Jeff Niesel