The Revival Tour is a collaborative event formed by Chuck Ragan in 2008 with the intention of returning to the traditions and spirit of folk music. It’s the concept of friends and families and communities coming together to share music.
Joining Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music) on the 2011 tour are Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem), Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) and Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio). Each artist was given a thirty minute set to perform their own songs, often joined by one or two of the others, with all four combining on songs between the sets.
Upon entering the ABC it quickly became evident that this was going to be quite a spectacle, with a range of guitars and violins and harmonicas and a double bass lining the stage. Each of those instruments would be used to full effect over the next two and a half hours, and the first highlight of the night came a couple of songs in when the four men performed The Gaslight Anthem’s Great Expectations.
I don’t think that in my wildest dreams I could ever have imagined Gaslight Anthem songs being played in such a folk setting, with three acoustic guitars, a violin and a double bass, but that’s what happened last night, and it worked. Great Expectations, American Slang, The ‘59 Sound, Old White Lincoln and Boxer all took on an entirely different meaning last night, and in a Brian Fallon set which also included my two favourite songs from the Horrible Crowes record – Behold The Hurricane and Ladykiller – as well as a beautiful performance of the old-school Blue Jeans & White T-Shirt and a couple of new songs, Fallon was elevated into iconic status.
Fallon aside, Chuck Ragan’s talent stood out amongst the group. That was always going to be the case from the moment he took an harmonica to his mouth. His voice was probably the strongest of the group and his harmonica playing was as good as I’ve heard live – and that includes the likes of Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen and even Neil Young.
Dan Andriano was probably the most utilised artist of the night, playing a role in (I think) everyone’s set while Dave Hause had a boundless energy. I’m definitely keen to hear some more Loved Ones material.
This was a non-stop, foot-stomping experience. There wasn’t the usual lull between the support act and the headliner, no breaks between sets. It was two-and-a-half continuous hours of acoustic folk music. You didn’t know who was going to play next, who would collaborate with who.
It was a brilliant gig. It honestly might not be a stretch to declare it the best of the year. And the really great thing about it all was seeing how much the musicians enjoyed playing their music. They were having a great time, and the audience were too.
A truly great night. If The Revival Tour is coming to a town near you in the following weeks, and you have any love for music at all, then you’ll go and check it out.