So Tim Barry, of Avail fame, is playing the Vollrath tonight. This is a very good thing. The recent trend in the punk rock world has been for former frontmen to go solo with a new-found folkish sound. Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Frank Turner (A Million Dead), Tom Gabel (Against Me!), Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms), the list goes on and on. The results are varied, but for the most part, the transition doesn’t work too well.
Two years ago, I went to see The Revival Tour (a tour reserved for punk frontmen who have gone folk) in Bloomington. That leg of the tour featured Chuck Ragan, Ben Nichols, Tim Barry and Austin Lucas. Maybe it was the fact that the show was at Rhino’s (a boozeless all-ages venue) or the fact that it was on a Sunday (a boozeless day in Indiana), but it was a tiresome affair. Chuck Ragan’s set was nearly as self-serving as his album (Feast or Famine, I haven’t bothered listening to any other of his offerings since then). Ben Nichols’s set was fine, but in a solo setting, his voice reminded me too much of Chad Kroeger (uh, from Nickelback). Austin Lucas gave one of the worst performances I had ever seen in my life. Not only was he a prima donna, bossing around the sound guy, but he looked and acted like Wizpig, the villain from Diddy Kong Racing.
The highlight of the night was when Tim Barry started playing. He moved the microphone off the stage and onto the floor and played directly to the crowd, as if he were playing in some basement in Richmond, Virginia, 20 years ago. He had as much, if not more, fun than the crowd and didn’t take himself too seriously. With his third solo album, 28th & Stonewall, freshly released, the show on Tuesday is sure to be a hoot. I just wish more of these solo punks would be more like Tim Barry and less like Wizpig.
- Austin Lucas