Dave Davies

June 7, 2013
Coach House
San Juan Capistrano, CA

Review by Shawn Perry
Photos by Anjani Lynn White

Now that the Kinks have pretty much ceased to exist, it’s been left to Ray and Dave Davies, the band’s leading lone siblings with colorful solo careers of their own, to carry the torch. Ray came through Southern California in 2010 with the 88 at the Grove of Anaheim and played a killer set filled with Kinks favorites. In support of his 2013 solo release, I Will Be Me, it’s Dave's turn to tour, accompanied by an interchangeable three-piece band. Making his way throughout Southern California, he stopped off at the Coach House for an 80-minute performance.

Following two mid-level bands that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, Davies ambled down the stairway and onto the stage amidst a mild stir begun by his band. “How you doing!” he called out as he strapped on his Strat and off he went with the first number of the evening, “I'm Not Like Everybody Else,” a unusual Kinks song in that it was written by Ray, but originally sung by Dave. Consequently, it’s become a signature and an excellent opener.

As expected, the show was filled with Kinks tracks like “I Need You,” “She's Got Everything” and “Tired Of Waiting For You,” many that brother Ray has written and originally sung, with Dave’s trademark riffs and arrangements added to the mix. But, of course, Dave’s voice sounds enough like Ray’s to make it as Kinks-like as possible. Despite a couple of miss-starts and a cracking voice, he stayed in high spirits and kept the audience entranced as he introduced the eloquent “See My Friends” as “one of my favorite Kinks songs.”

Wearing a long purple shirt exceeding the length of his black sports coat, Davies was joined by guitarist Jonathan Lea, bassist and keyboardist Tom Currier and drummer Teddy Freese. They supported Davies in making the old songs sound cool and the new songs from I Will Be Me sound cooler. One of the new ones they played was “Little Green Amp,” a swift little rocker about the amp that Dave took a razor blade to, inadvertently creating the distortion behind “You Really Got Me.” The mellower “The Healing Boy” roused a livelier response despite its tentative delivery.

When it came to one of Davies’ most famous Kinks compositions, “Death Of A Clown,” it started of jazzy, then dissolved into an erratic bit as Davies dragged a female audience member up to the stage, who apparently was unfamiliar with the song and backed off from the mic when it came around to the choruses. So much for hearing one his seminal tunes in an intimate setting. Thankfully, he spared his other famous Kinks composition “Living On A Thin Line” of any unnecessary detours aside from commenting beforehand: “What a strange world we live in…”

The encore featured a reprise of “I'm Not Like Everybody Else,” the title track of his new album “Cote Du Rhone (I Will Be Me),” and — take one guess — “You Really Got Me,” which really is as much Dave’s as it is Ray's, who received the sole writing credit. With everyone in the Coach House on their feet, Dave strummed the famous riff that altered the landscape and it was like, maybe for a minute or so, 1964 all over again and the excitement of hearing those notes somehow melded everyone’s soul together.

Reaction at pitch fever, Davies signed as many of the Kinks album covers thrust in his face as he could as he hiked back to his dressing room. A packed house for one of rock’s pioneers up close and personal — despite some bumps in the road (and maybe we can chalk that up to being real) and little from previous solo works, it was an absolute treat to see Dave Davies, at 66 and healthy after a stroke in 2004, plying his craft like the master that he is, warts and all, in San Juan Capistrano.

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