Eric Bartl 11:30 a.m., June 17
Australian tunesmith Joe Algeri makes a rare appearance at Lestat's
Australian tunesmith Joe Algeri made a rare solo appearance at Lestat's Coffeehouse on August 4.
Australian songwriter Joe Algeri performed to a small, but enthusiastic, crowd on August 4 at Lestat’s. The Perth based musician was playing the last date on a two week tour around the Midwest and West Coast, which kicked off on July 25 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The show also included Los Angeles based songstress Kris Angelis and by coincidence, another Australian, Sydney resident Leroy Lee. Lee and Algeri had never met before this show.
Since the early 1990’s Algeri has been a mainstay of the Australian music scene, performing in numerous acclaimed indie rock combos including The Rockerfellers, the Summer Suns, Jack and the Beanstalk and the Britannicas, as well as playing solo. For this tour he was booked under the name The JAC (aka the Joe Algeri Collective) in order to promote his latest album under that name, Faux Pas.
While at his Lestat’s show he performed solo, at other stops on the road he was joined by such notables as Illinois based acoustic rocker Herb Eimerman and Beach Boys sideman Nelson Bragg. “The name, The JAC, allows me to play with whomever I please, in whatever country I choose to be in,” Algeri said good naturedly in a post show chat. Despite that reasoning, performing live in recent years has been a rare occurrence for Algeri, even at home. To date in 2013, he’s played one gig in Australia, while in 2012 he didn’t play a single live date, preferring to concentrate on recording.
The nine song set performed this night opened with three cuts from his 1997 album with Jack and the Beanstalk, Serial, including “10,000 Sunny Days,” “Irregular Guy” and “(I Want to Be Like) Ray Davies,” following up with “Apricot Girl,” from his 1998 solo disc, Everything Under the Sun. The nod to Kinks main man Ray Davies is an apt one, with Algeri’s songs, at least in stripped down acoustic mode, falling somewhere between Davies later work and the melody heavy pop tunes of Fountains of Wayne. Next up were three tracks from the new disc, “I Just Want To Be Weird,” “Romano the Dog” and the title track, with a cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” and an as yet unrecorded tune, “(I Want My) Record Store” closing out the set.
Preparing to head back to Los Angeles before an exhausting 18 hour trip back to Perth, Algeri mentions that he considers the tour to have been well worth the effort. “I think I’m a fairly sensible, conservative sort of a guy,” he said. “But when it comes to music, you just have to throw caution to the wind. You just can’t be sensible. I work on a theory that it generally always works out okay, so go for it.”