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After a solid diet of classic rock, mainstream alternative rock, and unavoidably rap throughout most of the 90’s, I found myself with a healthy addiction to mid 90’s old school emo/ punk rock bands in the early 2000’s, a little after the fact but better late than never. As I was busy starting college and dropping all the insecurities of my high school years my heroes were bands like New Found Glory, The Ataris, Lagwagon, The Bouncing Souls, NOFX, and MXPX. With a new world at my doorstep, those were good times and the perfect time for punk rock anthems of angst in my life.
So, as you can imagine I was super surprised and excited to see Joey Cape and Jon Snodgrass on the Thursday night bill at the BlueMoone Saloone . You may recall Joey Cape as lead singer of ye ol’ little band, Lagwagon and Jon Snodgrass from maybe the lesser known punk rock/ alt country band Armchair Martian . Both bands were epic in their time and still make an impression on today’s youth no doubt, but really I want to talk about what Joey and Jon are doing now. Both have had long running solo careers and formed other bands since the punk rock hay day of the 90’s. Joey for instance has been doing solo acoustic stuff with the same great, but maybe more mature lyrics as you would find in any Lagwagon song since at least the mid 2000’s and many variety side projects with Jon and others for just as long. Joey recently released Doesn’t Play Well With Others about a month ago this year. Jon on the other hand has enjoyed a long ride with his alt country band out of Fort Collins, Colorado called Drag The River . The band sports a lengthy solid gold discography over the past 10 years that I highly recommend any Americana/ alt country/ acoustic rock fan to check out. The most recent release by the band is a collection of highlights and classics from previous albums aptly named Primer, buy and listen to it here at Suburban Home Records. Besides work with the band, Jon also has been touring and recording solo. At the show I picked up copies of Armchair Martian’s Good Guy’s, Bad Band , Jon Snodgrass and Cory Branan’s Split LP, and Joey’s Doesn’t Play Well With Others and have been rocking all weekend.
Joey and Jon have been friends for a long time and that’s kind of how Thursday nights show felt. It was the first night of their new tour together and at the very warm and welcoming BlueMoon Saloone, so the guys were bantering with the audience and playing ad hoc with one another almost as if it were a private house concert. Check out this ridiculous version of E Dagger. Jon and Joey were up first and local all-stars, Prison Book Club closed the night with a great rowdy set of mostly covers for a Thursday night. Joey even commented that he bought the Prison Book Club reprinted CD that was for sale that night and that he never buys albums anymore. The show at the BlueMoone was certainly fun, but it put me in a rather contemplative state after the fact. There were several requests for Lagwagon songs from Joey. He didn’t seem to mind and in fact was asking the audience for requests, but it kind of bugged me that he didn’t just get up on stage and rock a bunch of new stuff. I totally get the nostalgia factor and the desire to hear a Lagwagon song live since chances are slim that you ever will if you haven’t already, but Joey’s got some great new solo stuff too. Maybe he gets it a lot, maybe he’s used to it, or maybe playing old stuff is just as fun as playing new stuff for him. I’m not sure but it was kind of bittersweet. In either case, it was amazing that both of them took the time to play a tiny venue in Shepherdstown, WV and we all appreciated that.
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