Monday, August 16, 2010
dada live: another memorable night at the Coach House
dada features guitarist-singer Michael Gurley (pictured below), bassist-singer Joie Calio (on the right, standing on a dinner table) and drummer-singer Phil Leavitt.
There was nothing unlucky about dada's sold-out show at The Coach House on Friday night, August 13th. In fact, even the the two opening acts were pretty good.
But back to dada. The outstanding trio didn't take the stage until 10:10 p.m., but proceeded to play a concert just under two and a half hours featuring long-time fan favorites and new tracks that are set to be included on a forthcoming album.
When I meet people and they discover I am a music writer, they often ask "Who do you like?" After I rattle off the obvious choices (The Beatles, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, etc.), I always note "dada."
Friday night's show reminded me why dada continues to rate as one of my favorite all-time rock outfits. The band (singer-guitarist Michael Gurley, singer-bassist-guitarist Joie Calio and drummer-singer Phil Leavitt) challenge listeners and celebrate rock 'n' roll with songs that are original and accessible whether heard on their excellent studio recordings or when presented in concert.
The mix of dazzling songcraft, creative harmonies and extended musical jams that never became self-indulgent brought life to familiar material ("Dim," "Dizz Knee Land," "Dorina," "I Get High"), and likewise made the new songs so effective. Both "Mercury Down" (highlighted by inventive harmonies and Leavitt's Keith Moon-styled drumming) and a song with the likely title of “I Need a Moment in the Sun" were every bit as great as dada's classic material from the '90s and early '00s.
"Ask the Dust" was one of the most epic tracks played, with Gurley performing a guitar solo utilizing the timeless melody from the Fab Four's "Eleanor Rigby" into the song.
Several times throughout the show, the band members thanked the audience and noted how much they love performing at the Coach House.
"I love playing with these two guys," Gurley said before the band peformed a mind-blowing cover of the Mamas and the Papas' 1966 hit "California Dreamin."
And later, after returning to the stage for the first of two encores, Gurley summed up a magical night: "I wish every Friday night could be like this."
I think he was speaking for every fan in the packed crowd. When Coach House shows stretch past 12:30 a.m., there are invariably a good number of concertgoers who head for home early. But dada fans mostly stayed and for good reason; these shows are the reason we fell in love with rock in the first place.
Both of the openers did a good job and seemed to respond to the capacity, music-minded crowd. While Groove Kitty played 45 minutes of covers, they did ultimately come off like a better-than-average bar band. However, the original music band Hobs Row was very good. Anchored by singer-songwriter-keyboardist Nic Gibbs, the group's sound is in the territory of The Fray and Jamie Cullum. Based on the 30 or so minutes that Hobs Row played on Friday night, this is definitely a group with the talent and songs to go far.