Two years prior, almost to the date, Anders Osborne played a solo show at the Troubadour. At that previous appearance, Osborne sat down comfortably in a chair and performed a number of selections from his repertoire that leaned aptly into solo acoustic interpretation. In the intervening 24 months since, the Swedish ex-pat had returned to L.A., but with his full electric band. Think of this revisit to the famous West Hollywood venue as a hybrid of those two approaches.
Even with the false start on the opening “Windows,” as Osborne needed a moment to roll up his sleeves and put on the right eyeglasses, there was a far less professorial tone to the evening than its predecessor. Osborne stood for the entirety, digging in to the rocking rhythms that populated the set. He was energized, bobbing about the stage, dialing in his tone just to the edge of feedback and aggressively taking solo breaks. The sonic assault typically aided and abetted electrically and with his group this time was all Osborne and his fingers; nuanced and paced marvelously to evoke maximum emotion.
The singer-songwriter/guitarist sprinkled in new material, and talked of an album likely coming in 2019. This was just one of a few topics that Osborne expounded on during between-songs revelations. He spoke of the economic hurdles of making records, asked if the audience would be there to support it- (“yes, of course,” was the consensus response from the Troubadour constituency)- then lightened the mood with “47,” and its droll take on getting older.
He got serious about the California fire crisis, opening up about his own tragic experience, and questioned rhetorically why he was talking about such depressing things, before launching “Wind,” and peeling off some of the night’s most impressive guitar work. He was contemplative on “Tracking My Roots,” and feverish on “5 Bullets,” belting his acoustic with ardent strokes and riffs saturated in funky blues, soul, and a little psychedelia. Another story, this one of an attempt earlier in the day to get a warm hamburger delivered to his hotel room, led to a new song “Tomorrow is Another Day.”
Next, the evening’s biggest news: Osborne’s recently approved U.S. citizenship just days earlier, and a tongue-in-cheek promise the get “political,” followed, naturally, by a cooking rendition of “Stoned Drunk and Naked.” He came back for one encore, offering a last cathartic run through “Different Drum,” the lead track from his latest album, Flower Box. That record welcomed some ace guitarists such as Scott Metzger and Rob McNelly as guests to augment Osborne’s fiery fretwork. Tonight, it was Anders Osborne alone- just his stories, his voice, and his acoustic- and it was more than enough to fill the intimate club and celebrate the honeyed and heavy musical poetry of the country’s newest citizen.