Over 5 weeks, late in 2017, Frank Reader, Paul Livingston and John Douglas from the trashcan sinatras will be touring the USA as a three-piece acoustic lineup. The band mates celebrate their 30th anniversary, having formed in Irvine, Scotland in 1987. "I've been in the band for thirty years now," says Livingston. "That's a long time to be in any relationship. It's a good time to take stock, see how far we've come, and think about where we're headed."
With six well-spaced full-length albums to their credit, starting with debut Cake in 1990, through last year's Wild Pendulum, the band has written and released just north of 100 songs. Over the course of the tour, they plan to play each one of those songs. "Now that we've reached a century of songs," says Reader, "it feels like a good time to meet up with them all again, like a high school reunion." He adds, "Those songs whose love and friendship we've nourished over the years will no doubt turn up most nights and show us why we've remained so close over the years, but it'll be most interesting to see how those with whom we've lost touch have aged." He expects that some songs will "turn up drunk and disheveled," while others "may now be dashing and distinguishing, more so than we all would have guessed. I can't wait to meet them all again and find out."
Every show will consist of two unique sets and fans can expect to hear some covers, too. Although the band often delves into its back catalog for obscurities, particularly during acoustic tours, many songs have never been played live. Others may never be played again. "We will be playing some songs live that we have never attempted before, so in some ways, it's a tightrope walk for us. But, these songs are what we have done with our lives, so I accept the challenge and will try to not look down," says Douglas.
Performing acoustically will transport many of those 100 songs back to their origins. "Most of our songs are written with acoustic guitars and voices in quiet, solitary rooms, so it will be nervy but exciting to bring that sound out of the backroom and into the light," says Douglas. According to Livingston, "touring with no rhythm section means you have to take your cues more from the vocal. You can bend time and create space for the emotion of the song to come through."
Thirty years on, this is a chance for the band to reflect on its past, take a look at the present and imagine where they might go next. Playing all of the songs they've written seems a good way of celebrating the journey so far. Come along early, join the band in celebration and see which songs the evening brings.