The poetic, gentle personality of his three solo albums makes it easy to forget that Alejandro Escovedo knows how to rock: he was a member of the early San Francisco punk band the Nuns and led the True Believers, the rootsy, passionate, near legendary Austin combo, with his brother Javier in the late 80s. But while Escovedo’s poignant solo performances often close with a searing rendition of the Stooges classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” his manic side rarely comes through elsewhere. Buick MacKane, a sporadically active quartet he put together with former Doctors’ Mob drummer Glenn Benavides in 1989, is intended to remedy that. The band’s long-awaited recent debut, The Pawn Shop Years (Rykodisc), ups the ante on high-octane garage rock by dint of its leader’s versatile and soulful voice. Escovedo’s graceful vocals nicely contrast with the primordial thump of tunes like “Falling Down Again” and “Edith,” but when he wants to he can dispense with the polish in favor of raw immediacy, as on a cover of “Loose” or would-be Stooges originals like “Queen Anne” and “Wandering Eye.” Many a crusty rocker has feebly tried to reconnect with his “roots,” but Buick MacKane proves that Escovedo never lost touch. The Backsliders open. Saturday, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, Chicago; 773-525-2508. –Peter Margasak

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Buick MacKane by Todd Wolfson.