Last Night: Steve Earle & the Dukes at Stafford Centre

Steve Earle & the Dukes, The Mastersons Stafford Centre for the Performing Arts April 25, 2012

After three decades of music, mischief and critical accolades, it might come as a surprise to some to find Steve Earle performing at the relatively out-of-the-way (by Inner Loop standards) Centre for the Performing Arts in Stafford.

Surely, you say, the man who gave us "Copperhead Road" and "The Mountain" has earned a spot at the Verizon? Or House of Blues, at the very least.

Maybe the Centre just wants to continue its string of hosting what we guess you'd call "classic" country acts, including Merle Haggard and Charley Pride. More likely it's because Earle eschews playing at most corporate-owned venues.

Whatever the reason, the decentralized environs favored the man's more dedicated fans over those who might wander in from a convention across the street, and Thursday night's set with the Dukes was a relaxed and mostly amiable affair, full of familiar gems and a (to us, anyway) surprisingly powerful opening set by the Mastersons.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar