Sunday, March 03, 2013

dada's 20th anniversary celebration concludes with impressive set in San Juan Capistrano

dada, from left, Phil Leavitt, Joie Calio and Michael Gurley on March 2, 2013.
dada wrapped up its 20th anniversary tour with a fantastic concert at The Coach House last night, or should I say this morning. Indeed, it was 12:38 a.m. when the band wrapped up its 110-minute, 15-song set at the legendary San Juan Capistrano venue.

Fans of the band had apparently journeyed from as far away at Australia to catch the concert, which is the latest in a string of memorable performances at the venue. Indeed, it was at The Coach House where singer-guitarist Michael Gurley and singer-bassist-guitarist Joie Calio first performed in public together back in 1991 when they opened for Mary's Danish. Once the duo recruited drummer Phil Leavitt a few months later, dada was born.

Even on a night when the trio didn't play some of their most beloved material ("Ask The Dust," "Feet To The Sun," "A Trip With My Dad," "Hollow Man"), it's clear few fans of the band were disappointed. From the wealth of material off the group's 1992 debut Puzzle ("Dim," "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow," "Dizz Knee Land, "Dorina") to more recent stuff (notably a breathtaking version of "Guitar Girl" featuring amazing harmonies courtesy of Calio and Gurley), the group's continuing ability to make each performance unique and a musical odyssey to be shared is the real joy on any given night.

"Thirty-three shows and this is the last one," Gurley said early in the show. "And you guys are here for it."

dada has always had the ability to blend sterling harmonies and unique vocal interplay between all three members with extended jams that fit within the natural journey of those brilliant genre-busting songs. And even on rare covers (this night the audience was treated to a slow and trippy version of the Monkees hit "Last Train to Clarksville") the musicians surprise with unexpected ways a song is arranged and revealed over the course of its run.

"Spinning My Wheels" was delivered with some jazzy chords at the onset, before the song picked up and emerged as a powerful rocker, Gurley ending things with his dazzling fret work. Later, "The Spirit of 2009" proved to be similarly mighty.

Even concert staples such as the aforementioned "Dim" and "Dizz Knee Land" boast an unbridled energy that makes them anything but routine on any given night.

"Thanks for coming with us on this 20-year journey," Gurley said during the set. Indeed, ask any fan and the feeling is mutual.

7Horse, the project featuring Calio and Leavitt was one of the night's opening acts. With Leavitt doing a large share of the lead vocals, the psychedelic blues duo blasted out a very different vibe and sound than dada. Highlights of the set included the upbeat blues-rock tune "Famous Faces" and the driving "Low Fuel Drug Run."

Just as impressive was South Orange County-based quartet The Outsane. The four teens who comprise the outfit delivered a compelling sound recalling a mix of sounds recalling A-Ha to Muse during 35 minutes. The band closed with its original song "Vivid," a jaw-dropping epic that included both guitarists dueling with the skill and craft of veterans. Here is a video of the band performing the song at The Coach House in May 2012.

1 comment:

John M said...

Dada was as sharp as expected, but it was THE OUTSANE that stunned everyone at The Coachhouse.
Too many opening acts were booked this evening, so when THE OUTSANE, the fourth act, boldly went on stage at 9:30 p.m., the audience was ready to hear Dada, not four teenagers from San Clemente.
But something special happened this evening--THE OUTSANE started their all original set, and the murmur turned to silence, then to shock, and then to praise.
After the first song: "Okay these kids may be bearable."
After the third song: "Okay, these kids have some talent."
And as the set ended with the explosive Vivid, with the showcasing of dueling guitar solos--"Okay, these musicians are great rock band." Many who had never heard this band gave them a standing ovation.

THE OUTSANE leaves us with the hope and promise that great rock is still being created.