JON AND ROY at the Commodore Ballroom

Jon and Roy

Photo by Melanie Shim

17 November 2009 at the Commodore Ballroom

Everyone knows when a band is a tough act to follow, but there are some bands that are even tough to open for. The Cat Empire—Australia’s jazz/ska/funk/rock/eclectic musical powerhouse— would definitely fall into that category. So when Victoria’s Jon and Roy took to the stage at the Commodore on Tuesday night they had their work cut out for them, facing an audience of Cat Empire faithful who were ready to dance.

The duo made the most of their laid back acoustic roots style with a surprisingly up-tempo set. They were joined by one of their local Victoria musician friends on violin and auxiliary percussion which helped bring some energy to the more relaxed numbers. He also served as lead hand clapper on some tunes which helped stir up the crowd. Jon’s innovative guitar playing helped him draw different sounds out of his acoustic which gave the band a fuller sound than a normal folksy four piece. My friend and I were particularly taken with the kick stand tambourine Jon had rigged up and the melodica that the violinist was using. If you’re taking notes, I’d like one of each for Christmas.

Overall, Jon and Roy played a solid set. Their style was a bit of a mismatch for the Cat Empire’s and might have been better suited to a smaller, more intimate venue than the Commodore but they did a decent job of engaging the audience. They’ll continue on with The Cat Empire as they tour across Canada for the rest of November. In December they head back to Victoria for a Holiday show with Current Swell, Hey Ocean, Dan Mangan, Sgt. Strumalong and Hannah Georgas. Tickets for the December 13th Holiday Show at Alix Goolden Performance Hall can be purchased at Lyle’s Place, Ditch Records, Sitka or online via TicketWeb.

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