Brett Dennen at the Fox Theatre, 11-11-13 (photos, review)By Candace Horgan | November 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Could anything possibly be more surreal than going to an amazing concert, driving home, pouring a glass of wine, sitting down and turning on the TV, and seeing the show you were just at being broadcast in all its HD glory?
Such was the case with Brett Dennen‘s sold-out show Monday at the Fox Theatre, which was broadcast live on AXS TV, and also recorded for a showing for the troops on New Year’s Day. Dennen even got the crowd to wish the troops a “Happy New Year,” since they won’t see the recording until Jan. 1. However, AXS rebroadcast Dennen’s show again last night after it ended, hence me being able to rewatch it.
Seeing Brett Dennen the night after seeing Mazzy Star was a huge contrast. Mazzy performs in almost total darkness, befitting its somber and haunting music, whereas Dennen, who writes some of the most upbeat, happy music you’ll ever hear, performed in bright light. Part of that might have been to benefit the HD cameras, but it actually is perfect contextually with Dennen’s upbeat indie pop songs.
Opening with “Sweet Persuasion,” from his new album “Smoke and Mirrors,” Dennen quickly captivated the audience, many of whom were singing along and dancing to even the newer, more unfamiliar material. Dennen himself danced nimbly around the stage, frequently engaging with the audience, responding to the crowd’s heartfelt protestations of love by saying that he loved them back. At one point, someone in the crowd threw an Oakland As baseball hat onstage, and Dennen wore it briefly, laughing wryly that he would wear it “between songs.”
Some of Dennen’s newer material has a more straight-up vibe to it, relying more on chords and power pop instead of the intricate guitar fingerpicking that makes songs like “Darlin’ Do Not Fear” stand out so well. The single “Wild Child” is a clear invitation for people to sing along on the chorus and raise their hands in the air, something most did enthusiastically.
Dennen ended his 70-minute set with the ecstatic “Blessed,” getting the crowd to sing along as he danced and sang “Blessed is this life, I’m going to celebrate being alive.” It was a joyous celebration of what music can be.
Despite all that proceeded it, the highlight of the night was the first of a four-song encore, which Dennen performed solo acoustic. The introspective “Don’t Mess with Karma,” probably the best song on the new album, had people in the audience swaying gently back and forth while singing on the chorus.
Opening act Noah and Abby Gundersen joined Dennen for the last two songs, providing harmony vocals, and Abby added some lovely violin on “Only Want You.”
If you couldn’t get a ticket to last night’s show, or missed it, don’t fret, because AXS TV will probably be rebroadcasting it again at some point.
Sweet Persuasion, She’s Mine, Surprise Surprise, Darlin’ Do Not Fear, Not Too Late, Who Am I?, Dancing at a Funeral, San Francisco, Make You Crazy, Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog), Out of My Head, Wild Child, Sydney (I’ll Come Running), Ain’t No Reason, Blessed, E: Don’t Mess with Karma, So Far from Me, Only Want You*, When We Were Young*
*with Noah and Abby Gundersen