Monday, October 20, 2008

I'll be spending the day at work feeling like crap because I'm working on only a few hours sleep. That's not to say the reason behind it wasn't totally worth it, I think it's worth mentioning now that I've finished the morning coffee and wish the snack machine was restocked with pop tarts so as to offer some kind of breakfast other than an overpriced Snickers bar.

I spent my evening in Milwaukee at the historic(I think it's historic anyways, it's an old ass building in any case) Turner Hall seeing a show they've billed as the Revival Tour. Chuck Ragan, ex of a punk band that called themselves Hot Water Music after a book by Chuck Bukowski, for the past I'd say two years has been doing this folk/country/acoustic/awesome music making records and touring worldwide and actually doing it very successfully, I think. I think it was him who came up with the idea to assemble the ex-punk rock band guys turned folky acoustic crooners crowd who was following a similar path, gentlemen like Tim Barry, ex of Avail, who still rule in his absence, Austin Lucas, who I'm told played/plays also in a grindcore or something band, I don't know because that doesn't interest me in the slightest, Jon Snodgrass, who played in a band called Armchair Martian and wasn't in Milwaukee last night, and all together play these shows in various cities just fucking jamming out and not in a hippy "Let's play this song for half an hour because that would be cool, man." kinda way.

I was a little surprised at the setup of the show, I guess I wasn't expecting it, but, in hindsight, it was the best way to do it. All involved, Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Austin Lucas, and Ben Nichols of Lucero, came onstage together to do a few songs and then all but Austin Lucas left the stage to do solo-ish sets. I say solo-ish because during everyone's sets, they'd call for help from the main crew or the upright bass player or the violin player on a song or two. But, between sets, there was no set up or take down, or really any downtime at all. I guess you can do that type of thing when your weapon of choice is the acoustic guitar and basically that's it. That alone made the whole thing great and different than anything I've seen before.

The show itself, the music, was truly great. Not something you'd like, for sure, if you don't like acoustic guitars, men with beards, violins, slide guitars, PBR(because PBR is the beer of hipster douchebag assholes and folks who can't see spending $6 on a bottle[yuck] of Guinness), or country/bluegrass/folk music. Fortunately, where I'm at these days, I find myself really digging that kind of thing, so when I found out about this show, I immediately e-mailed my buddy who shared my enthusiasm about it coming to Milwaukee and said "I don't care when this happens, we're there." Seems like Tim Barry will only play Milwaukee on Sundays nights so my Monday morning after is long, so naturally this one took place on a Sunday.

This Turner Hall venue was set up quite classy-like, with tables and chairs and candle-lighting with standing room at the front. Being the old man that I am, I opted for the sit down for 80% of the show, which quite a few in attendance also chose to do. I stood and sang for the Tim Barry set because I know his songs pretty well and he's an awesome guy but my old man bones don't like to stand for extended periods of time anymore if they don't have to.

Ben Nichols, the guy whose shit I know the absolute least about, was decent and got quite a bit of audience really into it. I really only know and like one Lucero tune, which didn't get played, so that whole set was pretty new to me. Dude's voice was far more whiskey soaked, grizzled sounding than I've heard in other records, so, at first, I didn't even know who that bearded guy was. The voice was only vaguely familiar but I couldn't pin it until my buddy mentioned something about how he looks completely different with a beard.

I brought a camera along, but the lighting was such that I couldn't take any kind of a clear picture to save my life, so the only memories I bring home from the show are the ones in my head and the print I picked up post-show but I'm fine with that, my old man mind still works semi-well.

I'd say if you have the chance to see one of these Revival Tour shows, and it sounds like it'd be your kind of thing, you won't be disappointed if you check it out. It looks like they continue to head west until about mid-November, having finished the midwest legit looks like last night. I can't say the venues will all be as classy as last night's, the way they make it sound, on previous nights they played dive bars that sound similar to Bob's Country Bunker, getting pelted with beer bottles because they don't know the right Hank Williams Jr. song or something like that. But you're lucky enough to catch one of these shows and it's one of the ones where Tom Gabel of Against Me! is performing solo, shout "Hey, Tom Gabel of Against Me! You should play your version of Wagon Wheel." You don't have to be able to speak in hyperlink, though, because he should know what you're talking about.

said Tommy T. at 10:02 AM - #

Get Firefox

This is a Flickr badge showing public items from tommytumult tagged with awesometown!. Make your own badge here.
 Subscribe in a reader