Ray Davies, Everest @ The Grove of Anaheim on July 22
Last night, perched in front of a seated wall to wall crowd bathed in stage lights at The Grove in Anaheim, singer songwriter and former Kink, Ray Davies, gave us a healthy taste of Brit Pop nostalgia, acoustic style. But not before offering several slices from his latest works of starch pressed, story-teller folk. The show kicked off as darkness blanketed the venue around 8p.m.
Sent in to warm up the restless crowd, L.A. acoustic trio Everest channeled the haunting side of Ryan Adams and groovy pop of Alexi Murdoch to satisfy those who weren’t busy swirling cups of pricey beer around crowded bar tables outside waiting to hear “You Really Got Me”. Vocalist Russell Pollard’s voice loomed over the crowd like a specter from song to song thanks to some splashy reverb and under stated guitar work. They ended with “Rebels in the Roses”, by far one of the most powerful slices of introspective indie sentiment that I’ve heard in at least a month or two. If you haven’t heard of this band before now, they’re full sound with bass and drums and keys on the album Ghost Notes (Vapor 2008) is definitely worth a gander.
But the action that everyone came to see was the sound of Davies throaty vocals and acoustic strumming that has earned him a career with fans young and old since The Kinks drifted into relic hood in the 90’s. After a brief wait in between acts, the concert hall darkened as the slow build of country blues music got the crowd all hot and bothered while hoots and hollers peppered the air.
Hoisting himself onto a stool next to guitarist Bill Shanley, Davies wasted little time launching into a couple Kinks classics, including straight ahead rocker “Where have all the good times gone”. The crowd took a couple songs to really warm up as more and more voices added to the swell of sing along parts that injected some enthusiasm into the overall performance.
Though the group support from the audience was there, one of the problems with having an acoustic show of that size are all the obnoxious screaming song requests that made Davies look like a human juke box. After a while he stopped entertaining the audiences blathering and went on with some tracks from his latest album “Working Man’s Café”. One of which included the song “Vietnam Cowboys” which sounded reminiscent of the chucking guitars in a high powered Hendrix tune like “Machine Gun”.
After getting an earful of mixed bag solo work, things finally started to get kinky…really kinky. We’re talking all the hits, rapid fire… everything from “Sunny Afternoon”, to “Well Respected Man”, “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and let’s not forget All Day and All of the Night”. Hell, the old buzzard even stood up and rocked out for the old tunes. If I’m not mistaken, I thought I saw a little rock star jump at the end. I hope those joints feel okay tomorrow.
Besides playing a shit load of songs, Davies apparently felt like auditioning for a VH1 Story Tellers special because he had a 3 minute story for each song that made things drag a bit. I think some things should just be saved for the liner notes. But for all his blabbering, the man did churn out a couple encore songs and even stuck around to sign some merch from frenzied fans.
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Random Detail: Davies’ stories that inspired his songs included things like, getting shot, going to the hospital, The Vietnam, girls…ya know, the usual.
Personal Bias: I hate chairs at concerts
By the Way: Anyone interested in more aging rockers can go check out Boz Scaggs on Aug. 7.