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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Azkena Rock Festival satisfies with Earle, Jayhawks, Jason

Azkena Rock Festival, Vitoria, Basquen-Land, Spain , Sept. 12-13, 2003

By Jordi Pujol Naldal

VITORIA, SPAIN - In just two years, the Azkena Rock Festival has become one of the most important open-air rock events in south-Europe, a must any self respecting rock fan at these latitudes can't afford to miss.

The second edition of this two-day festival featured bands of the styles most commonly associated with rock: Iggy Pop & The Stooges, The Dictators, Ray Davis, The Cramps, The Hellacopters, Cracker.

The country-rock scene was represented by The Jayhawks, along with pedal steel player Stephen McCarthy, Steve Earle & The Dukes and the Jason & Nashville Allstars, the new Jason Ringenber live band. Ringenberg, one of the most overlooked country-rock pioneers, played loud and great and offered a 45-minute show including fan favourites like "I Really Don't Want to Know" and Bob Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie". He closed with the cover of "Country Roads". A wonderful, if too brief, show full of intensity. In concert, The Jayhawks have always been as roosty as Neil Young, and this was no exception. Gary Louis wonderful voice was well supported by the acoustic guitar and the pedal steel of McCarthy. They relied heavily on songs from his brand new record but also found room for old numbers like "Take Me With You (When You Go)." The gig best moments were framed by a Buffalo Springfield-inspired interpretation on "A Break in the Clouds," which they merged with "Expecting to Fly," written by Young.

Earle, who played Basquen-Land for the second time in two months, started his almost 90-minute show with "Amerika V. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)" and "What's A Simple Man To Do," both from the new CD "Jerusalem". As usually, "My Old Friend The Blues" was the first old song of the set, also including the standards "Cooperhead Road" and "Guitar Town" and the bluesy "Train a Comin'." The Dukes, with Eric Ambel on guitar, were at the top of their game and Earle, who was in fine voice and dedicated "N.Y.C" to The Dictators, sounded sincere the few times he interacted with the crowd. He almost gave the impression to feel at home: after the closing "I Ain't Ever Satisfied", he took a shot with his camera and said to the 8,000 audience "we'll be back."