A month ago Chuck Ragan brought the Revival tour to town: a tour where a group of musicians / friends play their solo music together. Just four guys, four guitars and two hours of good times. Taking a similar approach, Tony Sly (from No Use For A Name) and Joey Cape (Lagwagon, Bad Astronaut, Playing Favourites) used that same philosophy with their first solo tour of Australia.
I’ve never hid my admiration for Joey Cape’s music. I have been a fan of all his bands and all of his songs since I was fifteen, so seeing my favourite artist perform at my favourite venue, The Annandale, was the ultimate musical moment for me. There was an odd vibe in the air however. Maybe it was the driving rain on a Wednesday night that subdued the crowd. Perhaps it was the fact the State Of Origin was on (as Joey would tell us when they walked on stage) and NSW had been beaten yet again, but there was an apathetic nature to the crowd when Joey and Tony took their places. The pair traded song for song to mild polite applause, something that was clearly growing on the guys nerves. A good gig relies not only the band or artists giving it their all, but also requires the crowd to be energetic and give in return.
With the atmosphere disintegrating, Joey and Tony did what any one would do it this situation: start to drink. And at that moment, it all turned around. The boys were calling for shots and drinks from the bar, the crowd started drinking with them and by the end of two and a half hours, everyone was in the groove. It was a shame when they had to leave. To be honest, I think if Joey could he would’ve kept on playing for another couple of hours.
Joey mostly played Lagwagon covers, a lot of songs that the band probably don’t play live any more like ‘Owen Meaney’ and ‘The Kids Are All Wrong’ from Let’s Talk About Feelings and ‘Today’ and ‘To All My Friends’ from Double Plaidinum. We also got a couple of cuts off the new album Doesn’t Play Well With Others. The diminutive singer commented regularly that he gets people to come to these shows to have fun and sing along like they were around a camp fire and then plays depressing songs to bum everyone out. While his songs are on the sad and serious side, the man is funny and quite sarcastic and overall, a positively happy person.
Tony Sly treated us with some No Use For A Name classics like ‘On The Outside’ and ‘Coming To Close’, plus a number of songs off his first solo album Twelve Song Program. Tony, like Joey, writes songs that when played in an acoustic format sound melancholy and down but the heart-on-the-sleeve honesty is what makes us fans love both guys work. Accompanied by keyboardist Brian who they brought out to “make them sound better” , the guys helped each other out to recreate a similar experience to that of The Revival Tour.
What started out as a potential train wreck turned into a great night of drinking and singing and hanging out with friends. Ending their set with a Jawbreaker cover and being joined on stage by opener Jamie Hay, Joey and Tony emphasised their status as great singer / songwriters.