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Review and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWhen Dave Davies suffered a stroke while leaving a BBC interview in 2004, he was left unable to walk and talk, let alone sing and play guitar. But after intensive therapy and an unwavering commitment to relearn his craft, the co-founder of The Kinks eventually got back into the recording and touring groove. Though he's still on the road to complete recovery, this year's "I Will Be Me" marks his second project since stepping back into the spotlight and it once again retains the British Invasion band's rock n' roll ethos wrapped around his game changing guitar tones.
Davies and a three piece backing band stopped by Chicago's magnificent City Winery for the very first time after selling out a series of shows at the venue's esteemed New York location, and across 90 minutes, were welcomed back with open arms. Of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer didn't perform quite like he did during the band's first go around with vocals that were pretty rough around the edges, but no one seemed to mind since 66-year-old could still churn out some pretty meaty guitar licks.
Age aside, the guitar slinger/singer had no trouble uniting the past with the present, intermingling Kinks landmarks "I'm Not Like Everybody Else," "I Need You" and "Tired Of Waiting For You" with less familiar but nonetheless sturdy newer tunes like "Little Green Amp" and "The Healing Boy." Prior to the band's "Young And Innocent Days," the headliner made brief mention of his brother/fellow Kinks co-founder Ray Davies, whose notoriously acrimonious relationship is currently in civil and even occasionally speaking status.
The fact that Dave blasted through fellow group innovations like "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" and "All Day And All Of The Night" stoked the reconciliation anticipation all the more, especially considering they still pack plenty of aggressive relevance and could very well be considered precursors to the hard rock and punk movements. When it comes to riffs, "You Really Got Me" is Davies' most iconic and he encored with the classic, not only to the delight of those looking to recall yesteryear, but also as a symbol of someone who may have been shaken yet refuses to go down for the count.
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