Josh Small opened up the night with a short set and a big rack of instruments, I only caught the last five or six songs of his set, but he's got a record out called Tall By Josh Small that I definitely want to hear. He's been playing a lot with Tim Barry and was the jack of all trades on last Summer's revival tour with Ben from Lucero and Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music). Check out Josh here and get Tall here from Suburban Home.
Austin came out and played on Josh's last song and Small repaid the favor by sticking around for the first song of way too short a set. I was pleased to find that Austin sings as well live as you would expect him to. The set was far too short, but feature most of the high points of Somebody Loves You, save for Shoulders. I would have like to have heard Kith and Kin, but the only disappointment in the set was that it passed far too quickly. Check out Austin here and buy a copy of Somebody Loves You here immediately.
Tim Barry was next up. He took the stage like a panther and immediately launched into Dog Bumped, a take of a man who has to deal with his sister's abusive husband. The crowd went pretty apeshit and for the life of me I can't see why. I have a ton of respect for what Tim has accomplished with Avail. He's worked damn hard at plying this folky troubadour route and seems totally sincere about it. Sadly, from where I'm sitting (read: far away from his wrath) it's pretty contrived and not especially good. He was playing in the crowd two songs into the set (and pretty excited to tell everyone how he was going there) to much adulation, but after three more songs, I bailed to the front bar. I have all the respect for the Coe and Paycheck set of populist, working man's music, but the problem lies in the genre being co-opted by the Toby Keiths of the industry. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to hear Lefty crap by punk bands (or Steve Earle) either. Something about Tim's solo songs and his crowd just don't resonate with me, especially after seeing Austin Lucas. Still, if you're into that sort of thing, you can get Tim's most recent record Manchester here from Suburban Home and keep tabs on his whereabouts here.
Thanks to Tony Weinbender at Southern Lovin for the hook-up, Austin for putting me on the list (good luck in Mexico!) and Rut and Jamie for the company.