Live Review: Joey Cape & Brian Wahlstrom + Issac Graham - Annandale Hotel, Sydney (31.10.13)

brian & joey

Issac Graham came dressed in a short sleeve/short safari suit combination with pith hat for Halloween. It was the best he could do last minute. After telling us he performed a Sly cover that Joey had in his set list for Newcastle, Issac double checked tonight before playing 'Exit' and 'Black Box' in memory of Tony Sly.  Graham has a very Frank Turner style of songwriting - instantly likeable folk tunes with a story telling flavour that fitted in well with the headliners.

Coming out dressed as bad 80s metal band mullet wigs and bandanas and opening with a bad acoustic rendition of Bon Jovi's 'Living On A Prayer', the Caper and Brian were getting in the Halloween spirit. Joeys greying beard made him look more like a sad old bogan who would fit in at any cities Western Suburbs culture. All jokes and wigs aside, the first part of the night focused on Joey's songs mixing some old Lagwagon favorites with tracks from his two solo records. Cape's songs acoustically really show the talent behind his lyrics with often downer themes of heartache, betrayal and loss. Songs like 'The Contortionist' and the Lagwagon b side 'Wind In Your Sail' typify this but the evening wasn't one long sad story. Joey and Brian traded witty remakes with each other and the crowd. Joey told the tale of how he met Brian when he was asked to play a wedding and Brian was asked to play piano along side him. Brian, even performed a song he had written before delving back into classic Cape songs 'Bombs Away', 'May 16th' and 'I Must Be Hateful'.

The second part of the night focused on the life and music of No Use For A Name's late frontman Tony Sly. Tony and Joey had toured together and released solo records together and no one felt the pain of Tonys death in the punk music world more than Joey. Celebrating his amazing work as a lyricist, Joey and Brian performed NUFAN tracks like 'On The Outside', 'The Answers Still No' and 'Justified Black Eye' along with some of Sly's solo work including the track 'Capo 4th Fret', a personal favorite of Joey's. The section concluded with an emotional singalong (as if they all weren't before) of 'International You Day', a beautiful song I recommend everyone listens too. 

Before the tour, Joey and Brian held a competition that allowed one person in each city a chance to play am original song during their set. Sydney's winner, Chris did a great job with a cool little ditty that crowd dug a lot. The encores were more Cape songs until he ran out of songs he could remember to play. The whole night was just a good fun singalong celebrating two very exceptional songwriters in Joey Cape and Tony Sly.