Alejandro Escovedo tonight at the Visulite Theatre (10/23/2012)
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO Alejandro Escovedo has been pegged as an alt-country artist, but he doesn’t see it that way. In the 1970s, Escovedo dropped his calling card in San Francisco’s kitchen-sink punk scene as guitarist for the Nuns. He went on to form seminal cow-punkers Rank & File and underappreciated garage maestros True Believers, before launching a solo career in 1992. Though his alt-country tag stems from some quietly insular, strings-and-things LPs he recorded in the wake of his wife’s death, it’s clear that Escovedo has always been a rock 'n’ roller — albeit an extremely eclectic one. That’s been particularly true since 2008, when he teamed with his current songwriting partner, the roots-punk musician and poet Chuck Prophet. Recently, Escovedo and Prophet have become slaves to the rhythm, hoarding magpie pickings from the world of dance music. On Escovedo’s current project, Big Station, the co-conspirators draw on influences as diverse as Eddie Cochran, The Clash’s Sandinista and Malian riff-rockers Tinariwen, crafting lean, big-sounding songs that compel crowd members to get up on their feet and shake. With a voice pitched somewhere between a caw and a yowl, Escovedo belts out smart, seething lyrics over addictive grooves that cut deep into your brain. With Ghost Wolves. $22-$25. Oct. 23, 9 p.m. Visulite Theatre, 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704-358-9200.