(Warning: this is a blog, not a review per se. No, I don’t remember the set list. I know the concert rocked. Full stop!)
Last night was a night I’d been waiting for, for quite some time. Live music in Paradiso (Amsterdam): that alone has ‘a good night’ written all over them for me. And when that ‘Live music’ is provided by Dave Hause then something else is added to it. Even though it was in the Small Hall, while he deserves the Main Hall (subtle hint). His concerts mean fun (he can laugh and sing at the same time), they mean interaction (he fires up the crowd to sing along and participate), they mean intensity (go to his show and you’ll understand! Oh no wait: trust the internet and before you know it footage of the show you went to is out there: http://youtu.be/oKYdGtMPhks) and they mean sincerity (the multiple “Thank you so much for being here” are honest and from the heart. Or at least seem to be, and if that’s the case: he can always start a brilliant acting career when he’s done playing music; although I hope that doesn’t happen for a long time).
Those who know me, know that I’ve been going through a rough spot lately, and it’s been Dave Hause’s music that spoke to me, pulled me through and pushed me forward when I needed a kick in the behind (‘C’mon Kid’). And yes: many of you will now look at the screen puzzled: “Wasn’t a certain Mr. Springsteen doing that for her? *scratching head*” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, and he still does, often enough, but this blog is not about him, okay?! (And maybe, juuuuuust maybe, I’m not as single-minded as you all thought me to be…)
So there I was, going to see Dave Hause live for the fourth time. But, control-freak as I am, I wanted to know a bit more of the opening act, Northcote. So, a couple of days ago I searched for (and found) some music of Northcote and I pretty much liked that too. It’s not often that I really like opening acts; sometimes they – no matter how good – just don’t fit in with the crowd that’s there for the main act. But boy, how different that was this time. It was a great opening act; it fitted perfectly. Northcote, a Canadian singer-songwriter named Matt Goud, is definitely worth to check out. He got the crowd interacting with the clapping and chanting – and even though not many knew his music (I bet), he succeeded! I truly enjoyed it. His last name ‘Goud’ (still no idea how to pronounce that in English) is actually the Dutch word for ‘gold’ and how appropriate that is. For the first time in my entire life I bought a CD of a support act after the show, and generous as he was, he was there to shake hands and to sign the CD with a personal message for everybody who asked. And that’s another first in my entire life: a signed CD. I thank you sir. Rock on! And come back soon – you have an audience here!
And then the main act. Who was that again? Oh right, Mr. Dave Hause. Focus Maria, focus! His twitter profile makes perfectly clear how to pronounce his last name (“It’s pronounced like pause, or cause, damnit”) and that line makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. And I understand it so well, as my last name (Tillema) is often (mis-)spelled and (mis-)pronounced as Tilleman. Which just leaves me thinking: “How on earth do you hear an N at the end? It’s not even there?!”, but I’m digressing…
Hause brought along Mitchell Townsend to play some additional instruments. And it worked wonderfully well. I liked Hause’s solo show at the Winston in Amsterdam last May, but I remember thinking back then: “It would be nice to hear some more instruments than just his guitar.” I don’t know what made him decide to bring along Townsend, and I don’t really care either. He did and I enjoyed it very much! It worked; Townsend and his music are a great addition to the show.
Much to my delight as well I spotted a keyboard on stage. I saw some youtubes of previous shows in the UK and really enjoyed the songs where Hause played the keyboard. I was hoping for a piano version of The Great Depression and was not left disappointed. To me that song explains the entire album. If you want to hear more about the meaning and reason behind the album: give this youtube a listen (it starts at 3m12). Before starting this song he told us he wanted to play us some songs the way he once recorded them. This was one of them and it was beautiful. More piano, Mr. Hause!
The show before the one in Amsterdam was cancelled due to illness. You could still hear sometimes that Hause’s voice wasn’t top-notch, but energy-wise there was nothing wrong: He rocked, laughed, shouted, entertained and let us participate. And when I write ‘participate’, I mean exactly that. There was one moment that I was dreading, hoping it wouldn’t happen. I literally had a nightmare the other night about me dropping a kid on the floor… Okay, this needs a little intro: When Hause played at the Winston last May there was this young guy who was obviously a well-known fan and what I never expected, happened: he was invited on stage and went stage-diving. He was carried by the crowd: up and down; to the bar and back to the stage again (with a whisky for Dave Hause in his hand!) During his second round on top of the crowd he sailed right over my head and it was then I learned my arms were not as strong as I had hoped. I almost dropped the kid if it weren’t for the many people around me.
Last night I was completely up front and talking to people I met at the venue, when a woman a few rows behind us asked if her kid could stand in between us. Of course. But then I looked at him and recognised him. “Oh Lord”, was my exact first thought. After that my first instinct was to run, but my concert-loving-elbows-on-stage-heart took over and I was not going to leave my spot. Knowing that there were some strong guys behind me (and don’t forget: his mother!) I figured (well… ‘hoped’ is more accurate) I was safe. And I was, since I didn’t have to carry him this time: just by an inch. Phew.
This is a shout-out to Max and/or his parents – if you read this: I took some pictures of Max, while playing piano for example. I don’t want to just post pictures of your son online, but I would like to send you them, so drop me a line! And to anybody who reads this and knows them: please forward this to them!)
And a shout-out to Dave Hause: next time, look into the crowd intensely before you make him do that. And when you’re in Holland and you see a woman upfront with complete fear in her eyes: PLEASE, take Max to the other side of the stage, okay? Thanks! 😉
And then some
And then… Then there was that moment I absolutely hoped for, but never thought would ever become reality. Concert-goers out there know this feeling: the feeling of ‘chasing a song’. It’s that one song you love to hear live once so badly, but so far it has never happened. And then… All of the sudden, that moment is there. Well… that moment happened to me yesterday – during the first possibility I ever had, since it’s on his latest album ‘Devour’ which was released in October. The one song I wanted to hear live, but also the one song which I figured to be too fragile for the show he normally puts on. It’s a song that spoke to me straight away when I first listened to the album. It’s about a relationship gone wrong, the protagonist picking up the pieces and moving on. The way Hause and Townsend performed this song was beautiful. Up-front it was dead-quiet, you’d only sometimes hear a quiet “Sshhh” somewhere in the back.
I don’t want to over-analyse the song, nor the performance (other then: “Give a big round of applause for Hause & Townsend”), so let me go back to why this was my ‘song to chase’:
Often people build walls around them to protect themselves; I’m no exception. Well, this song – and particularly one line – gave me a new and positive view on this destructive habit. So for all of you out there building walls, read this line from that beauty of a song called Bricks and try to take it to heart: “I’ll build a brand new foundation from the bricks you threw my way.”