We were pleased to find that The Haunt was full for Chuck Ragan’s solo show, both to show support for Billy The Kid and Northcote and also in anticipation of seeing the much loved Hot Water Music frontman take the stage. He’s built up a strong reputation over the last 20 years, touring not only as the nice guy of punk but as a gifted, sincere and honest songwriter. Backed by his band The Camaraderie, Chuck played set of old favourites and new songs such as ‘Something May Catch Fire’ with his powerful and heart-wrenching voice sounding out across the small venue.
The chemistry and friendship on stage was evident, with energetic back-and-forths between the hugely accomplished fiddle player Jon Gaunt and Chuck. Fans used to his more punk sound or unfamiliar with his solo work may have been surprised by the inclusion of the fiddle and pedal guitar, but it blends with Chuck’s guitar playing and impassioned gravely vocals so well.
To close the set Chuck took to the stage to play alone with his guitar and harmonica, eventually only to be joined on stage again by the band to play past their early curfew and meet the demands of the crowd to play ‘The Boat’. The gig finishes to the sound of the crowd cheering, the lights go out and everyone goes home. Almost everyone. Chuck, true to his reputation, stays behind to meet and greet those that stayed for photos, handshakes, autographs and thank yous.
The Haunt, Tuesday 24th June 2014
Words and photos by Mike Tudor at Studio85