Concert Review

Brett Dennen at the Moore Theater

Words by Jim Bennett

Photos by Jim Bennett

California landed squarely in Seattle tonight, breezing in on the tailwind of Dawes and Brett Dennen. Both bands wear their influences squarely on their sleeves, and their audiences love them for it.

Dawes had a punchy, lyrically cogent electric sound evocative of Laurel Canyon and sounding great for it – equal parts Neil Young and something a bit rounder that is entirely their own. Rich instrumentation but not overly rich – in the way that a little fois gras is just enough, they flesh out their sound to make it whole but don’t bury any instruments and let the vocals ring through. By the second song, the audience were responding vocally to the verbal crescendos and guitar work, hammond organ churning and drums crashing. They nailed a great set.

After a short break, Brett Dennen came out barefoot in a stocking cap, shimmying and playing acoustic guitar to a rapt audience. A couple folks were dancing from the time he walked out, and matched moves with him as he bounced his way through the first couple of songs – knees & hips shifting, tongue out at times, smirking mouth and eyes closed. I was reminded of a red headed Jack Johnson a bit, but with a distinctly California style. When he told folks it was OK to stand up in their seats by the start of the third song, they needed no further prompting to jump up and run to the front, dancing and singing. Shifting to electric guitar, he flowed smoothly into even more upbeat tunes and kept everyone smiling throughout the set.

Two different but complementary sounds with a great spirit between them – a fun, energetic evening of music.

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