Bobby Bare, Jr. and Friday night go together like Jack Daniel's and ice. But it seems that every time he drops in on the Lou, it's either a Thursday or he and his wryly named backing band, the Young Criminals' Starvation League, are slotted for post-midnight mop-up duty at Twangfest.
Enough of that shit: Bare and his League, a marvelously competent, constantly rotating unit that, this tour, includes Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison, are playing Friday night at Off Broadway. How ironic, then, that at the precise time Bare is afforded the luxury of playing to a potentially balls-out drunk crowd of St. Loonies, he's on the road behind a relatively meditative (for him) new album, From the End of Your Leash, that pokes semi-cautionary fun at, among other things, decadence, romance and stardom. It's not that Bare hasn't mined these topics before; he just plays 'em so mellow and sweet here, owing in no small part to Carey Kotsionis' rangy, uniquely girlish backup vocals.
Unfortunately, Kotsionis won't be part of Bare's League Friday because of an on-again, off-again professional relationship that's evocative of Whiskeytown's star-crossed duo of Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary. Then again, her absence might compel Bare to return to his more rollicking roots onstage. Mister John Daniel, beware.