After touring and recording with both You Am I for the past 12 years and fronting The Pictures for almost as long, it was only a matter of time before Davey Lane decided to release and tour something under his own name. He released his solo EP The Good Borne of Bad Tymes back in September last year and Friday night saw him kick off 2014 with a show at The Workers Club before he heads into the studio to record his debut solo album, and heads back to work with You Am I.

I always try and catch the support bands but after a long day to end a long working week I was reluctant to head out early so stayed home a bit longer than probably I should have, before heading out to Fitzroy pretty late. As I arrived I was pleased to discover Davey was running a bit late and as I walked into the bandroom he took the stage. For such a seasoned pro, there was an amazing informality to the gig and his relaxed nature on stage made it appear he was just having a lot of fun.

As a frontman he brought a lot of humour to the banter between songs and at one point he introduced a song off the upcoming album (I somehow missed the name) saying “…you might hear it on commercial radio in 1977. A great year for commercial radio if you ask me.” and when someone asked where his dog was, he casually answered “He’s at home!”

There’s something about Davey’s performance – there’s nothing overly fancy in the music but there’s an element of cleverness that keeps it from being dumb rock and roll, perhaps with the exception of ‘Last of the Freakazoids’ which might well be the dumbest rock and roll song I’ve ever heard (but still brilliant to listen and dance to). ‘The Undergrowth’ really shows off his vocal chops as he sings over a much more sparse arrangement than his other songs while ‘You’re the Cops, I’m the Crime’ stands out with brilliant lyrics and the live performance got the room moving before marking the end of the set.

After their fake encore ploy backfired and everyone started to disperse, Davey and the band jumped back on stage to their own applause before blurting “Well that was a bit fuckin’ embarrasing!”. He briefly quipped that he didn’t think anyone would turn up, then introduced the encore as “Rod Stewart’s biggest hit” and the bassist played the familiar bassline of Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’. Davey’s version is as faithful as possible and was a big hit with the crowd (or at least those who realised he wasn’t done).

It’s actually quite hard for me to sum up the show – the music was fantastic (of course) and, while there is definitely a 70s inspiration, his specific influences are not very obvious and that makes it easy to listen to and separate it from his other projects. If you get a chance, check out a show next time he’s about. You won’t regret it.

Wes Fahey

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