By Peter Sloggatt
It’s Huntington night at The Paramount Aug. 11 when two bands with local ties take the stage.
Headlining the night is Even The Losers, a Tom Petty tribute band made up of Long Island-based musicians, some of whom work in the technical end of production at The Paramount. Brian Byrne of Locust Valley and Brad Cordaro of Huntington put the band together shortly after Petty’s death in Oct. 2017 as a way to honor the legacy of a songwriter and performer who had influenced them in their early years.
Byrne handles the vocals – not an easy task as anyone whose ever tried a sing-along with Petty in the car can tell you. Drummer and longtime friend Cordaro and he pulled together an eight-piece band for their first gig at The Paramount last January.
The pair said they felt a strong connection to Petty because his songs served as their introduction to music.
“We are all younger guys so Tom Petty for us was kind of the soundtrack to our childhood, so we wanted to bring back that feeling for everybody,” Byrne told Long Islander News last January.
Cordaro said the band tries to create an atmosphere of celebration on stage without trying to do a re-creation. No costumes, no wigs, no lookalikes, they instead focus on learning the music and playing it well.
“You can’t pretend to be Tom Petty,” Byrne said, with Cordaro adding, “It’s about the songs; it’s about the music.”
The pair will be among those cheering on the night’s opening act, The Caption, whose musical careers have crossed paths with Cardoro and Byrne’s.
The Caption is Chris Davey, who grew up in Huntington, and Jack Tangney of Rockville Centre. Today, both live and work in the music industry in Brooklyn, but they came together in the seemingly small world that is the Long Island music scene.
“Jack and I grew up satelliting around each other before we finally came together,” Davies said. The pair started a recording studio in Davies’ parents basement during their high shool years, and have recently been recording in the studio where Davies works. Music videos on their website (Thecaptionmusic.com) show an almost closetlike room with Tangney at piano and Davies on guitar performing what Davies calls “piano pop, or grown-up emo, maybe.”
Tangney, with a floppy shock of red hair, is the more outgoing of the two and handles lead vocals on most of their tracks, while Davies harmonizes from across the room. But, Davies said, “we both have huge egos, so we trade off a lot.”
The pair are process-oriented, and the songs are multi-layered weavings of chords and words, but structured, thanks to Davies’ degree in jazz theory.
For the Paramount show, they’ll be joined by Peter Pearson on cello, and in an effort to make the show more accessible to a new audience, the trio will be mixing in some covers for their 45-minute set.
“We’ll just be [three] dudes trying to make as much noise as possible,” Davies said.
Tickets for Even The Losers with The Caption show cost between $20-$35 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.