American singer-songwriter and guitarist, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are a really strong live act. Their show in Gothenburg has been sold out for some time now. Their latest album the Nashville Sound was released in June 2017 and has been rewarded two Grammys (Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song). On the albums many of the songs in the set are peaceful acoustic songs. Onstage, however, they are a massive showdown. It is the type of thing that could never be replicated in a studio. The guitars are roaring and Isbell’s voice is crisp clear in for example Decoration Day.
The lyrics are great too. I like songs that are clean and don’t have much “fat” on them — every line is direct, and all people can relate to it. That’s what Jason Isbell does in for example the song Anxiety: “Anxiety. Why am I never where I am supposed to be? Even with my lover sleeping close to me I’m wide awake and I’m in pain”.
Anxiety. Why am I never where I am supposed to be?
As the show is closing with an emotional version of If we were Vampires I’m happy to note that it has been a fantastic show. The venue’s staging is simple and effective, with a light show that suffices more than any props. The 400 Unit are an unbelievably tight backing band and they manage to capture the audience. Highlights: Last of my Kind, Anxiety, Decoration Day and the closer If We Were Vampires.
Setlist: 1. Hope the High Road, 2. 24 Frames, 3. Anxiety, 4. White Man’s World, 5. Decoration Day, 6. Codein, 7. Outfit, 8. Last of my Kind, 9. Cumberland Gap, 10. Tupelo, 11. Stockholm, 12. Cover Me up, 13. Never Gonna Change, 14. Flying over Water, 15. If We Were Vampires