The Revival Tour
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 14, 2008
The Revival TourWaterloo Park, Nov. 9
Stripping songs to an acoustic minimum, the Revival Tour toned down the fury of punk frontmen Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Tim Barry (Avail), Ben Nichols (Lucero), and Tom Gabel (Against Me!) but proved no less powerful. Bookended by full band stomps that included upright bass, steel guitar, and fiddle, the three-hour set dripped a country flavor that cut songs like Lucero's "Last Night in Town" with a Springsteen meets the Pogues raucousness. Gabel's solo set may have drawn the biggest crowd of the weekend to Stage 2, but among the four songwriters, it was also the least transformative. Gabel howled out Against Me!'s "Walking Is Still Honest" to a chorus of accompanying "whoas" from the audience, while the intensity of his McCain-inspired "Cowards Sing at Night" threatened an acoustic aneurysm. Barry seemed more comfortable in the country vein, especially on the poignant and personal "Wait at Milano," and Nichols delivered tavern tested and cigarette burnt tunes under a voice more gravel than a quarry pit. Ragan's gritty vocals carried a touch of Steve Earle with "Between the Lines." Ultimately, the Revival was most effective as a full band, closing with the Dylan/Old Crow Medicine Show sing-along of "Wagon Wheel."