Album Review :
Dave Barnes @ The Soiled Dove Underground; Denver, CO

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Band: Dave Barnes
Venue: The Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, Colorado
Date: October 18, 2010
By BMer

October 25th. Although the Soiled Dove is a pretty small venue, only holding about 300 people, the front desk told me that 244 tickets had already been sold before walk-ups. It was definitely the most people I’ve seen in the club that is mostly seats and tables, but has a standing room area right in front of the stage, a section that is lower than the rest of the venue so that the people standing don’t actually block the view.

Dave Barnes is currently on tour supporting his latest release, What We Want, What We Get which was released earlier this year. This time through he brought with him Trevor Morgan, another artist based in Nashville to play acoustic guitar alongside Dave. Last time Dave played Denver he brought a band, and the time before that he played in Boulder with Matt Wertz and The Gabe Dixon band. I was somewhat apprehensive about only two guitarists, it can be tough to play a longer set with only two guitars and keep each song interesting enough, but my apprehension was misplaced..

It didn’t take long for Dave and Trevor to show that they had worked out quality unique parts on guitar for each song. Trevor proved to be an excellent guitar player, playing the lead riffs from Dave’s songs while Dave mostly played rhythm. There were plenty of times though that they traded off and Dave took lead, no songs sounded overly simplified, just quality acoustic versions of the songs. Trevor also provided a few back-up vocal parts throughout the set.

I believe the key to Dave’s live show is his confidence on stage. Back home in Nashville Dave has dabbled in stand-up comedy for quite awhile now, and his stage banter is much smoother than most musicians. He told stories about most of the songs he played and by the end of each story most of the crowd, and Dave himself, are laughing hard. Dave told stories about when he was asked to play God Gave Me You for an episode of All My Children and the nonsense that ensued when Dave was asked to say his only line. After telling us about being asked to “mill around” from the director, the story took a turn and by the end of it the only thing we’ll remember is “make it grain” by DJ DonkeyMouth. Yea, when Dave gets going he can get pretty far off topic, to say the least.

He told stories about other songs like his latest hit, My Love My Enemy and how he was worried that his wife of five years wouldn’t warm up to it, in the end though she was the one who named the song. He also talked about “Greyhound”, a song written about when his girlfriend at the time (also his future-wife) took the Greyhound 12 hours to catch his show because they hadn’t seen each other in quite awhile. His stories were in-depth but never boring. He often caught himself saying something awkward and would make light of it, as when he was talking about his latest record and he said “When I wrote this record I wanted to be truthful…I’ve lied on every other record.”

He played songs from every record, mostly from What You Want though, including “Little Lies”, “God Gave Me You”, “What We Want We Get”, and “My Love My Enemy”. Dave also played, for the first time live (according to him), a song off of his upcoming Christmas Songs release, the song was called “Meet Me at the Mistletoe” and it’s a duet with Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Dave had to bring the lyrics out so that he could read them while he played the song, and it’s always refreshing to see artists be a little vulnerable sometimes. He also played a cover of Walking in Memphis, changing some of the words with Denver and Soiled Dove.

The crowd favorite was definitely “I Need You” as you could hear everyone singing along, and quite a few dudes in the place were scoring points with their girlfriends for the romantic moment! The set list was kept pretty chill, excluding songs that would obviously be better with a full band, but he still managed to play upbeat songs like “Someday Sarah” “Butterflies” and “Little Lies”, the latter which he played for his “encore” in which he didn’t leave the stage but just merely turned his back for about a minute and then turned back to the crowd.

Dave’s vocals were probably the best I’ve heard from him. The last time I saw him play he just wasn’t as confident as he is now. Without the full band backing him this time his vocals were out-front and often there was little guitar playing to hide behind. He tends to start songs off a little flat but as the songs builds, so does his confidence. “Grace’s Amazing Hands” was probably the best song vocally in my opinion. After than Trevor left the stage and Dave played solo through “I Have and Always Will” and his new Christmas song.

Dave Barnes is definitely up-and-coming. It was only about 5 years ago when he was being coerced into the music scene by friends, playing with friends like Matt Wertz. Now, after being recognized by artists big and small he’s thriving. He is one of the best song writers of our generation and has quite a collection of solid songs. I would recommend everyone getting out there to catch him in the small venues while you still have the chance.

What I Need
My Love My Enemy
I Need You
Nothin’ Fancy
Grace’s Amazing Hands
Someday Sarah
I Have and Always Will
Meet Me at the Mistletoe (new song)
Walking in Memphis (cover)
God Gave Me You

Little Lies

Dave talking about his charity, Mocha Club: