Palms away

It’s that creaky time in life, with a wrinkled Mick Jagger live and onstage; with AARP-laureate Norman Mailer out on the lecture circuit; and with just about any anthem you loved in your youth utilized on behalf of antacids, antifreeze or, if we’re talking national defense, the antichrist. And then there was the wizened David Lindley at the Palms Playhouse last week.

Lindley: “We were on a radio station yesterday. In Santa Rosa. Just the nicest people. I don’t remember which radio station.”

Wally Ingraham, dreamily: “It began with a ‘K.’ ”

Ya gotta love elder rockers with such impaired endorsement sense. Sure, nobody can remember radio call letters, but Lindley’s K(blank) amnesia speaks to an artist lost in the music, a creative being not caught up in all that.

I mean, what else could it be?

Lindley and Ingraham returned to the Palms. (The lovely venue has relocated, but it’s still very much the Palms: The beloved—how should I say it—Palms phallus painting still hangs by the bar, the tractor is still on the premises, and you can actually bring a few friends and not leave half of them in the car because of a lack of seating.) They rocked the house. Lindley continues to play an eclectic kind of world music on about a million string instruments. He’s no chops monster—except when he wants to be—and he has remained true to his quirks amid a world gone loco.

For instance, the following (sung in traditional call-and-holler fashion, over a reggae-esque monstermovie thing):

“Sports utilities suck. (SUCK!)

“Sports utilities suck. (SUCK!)

“Hang up your phone and drive.

“You blood clot. (BLOOD CLOT!)”

Notice the innovative rhyme scheme: It takes a certain confidence to rhyme “blood clot” in any context (even with itself). And it takes a certain vision to catalyze an entire roomful of grown-ups to yell it. (Ultimately, it’s a personal decision. It never occurred to me to call anybody a blood clot, but that’s all changed.)

Most would recognize Lindley’s falsetto on “Stay,” that sluggish Jackson Browne staple on K(blank) oldies radio. Browne, Lindley’s mid-1970s paycheck gig, was a long time ago.

These days, a Lindley and Ingraham concert may start out in rock ’n’ roll, and arrive—via Jamaica and then Turkey—somewhere just outside of Jordan. Lindley’s voice has raised nasality to a kind of art form. A wily use of effects, coupled by the infectious multi-limbed work of Ingraham—he is a chops monster, creating more music per finger and toe than most chugga-chugga rhythm sections—creates a wall of music. And their relaxed banter—a casual to and fro that seemed to catch them both off guard and grinnin’—made it memorable.

Stay, indeed.