Dave Hause & The Mermaid – Gorilla Manchester – 14.03.2017

Back to Manchester’s lively Oxford Road again and this time it’s to one of the cities more subtle venues – Gorilla. Had you not attended a show at the venue before, Gorilla may come across as a busy London esque-bar, but were you to venture through the walls you would find a spacious yet cosy live room which tonight plays host to a formidable line up –  rounded off by veteran punk rocker Mr Dave Hause and his touring band The Mermaid.

Stepping in as a replacement for the M.I.A Dead Heavens is Kayleigh Goldsworthy, a member of Hause’s backing band and a solo artist in her own right. Her country folk leanings provide a delicate opener for the show with tracks like Tennessee coming across as warm and truthful solo as they do on record. After trying to awaken the seemingly napping crowd with her quick wit, she closes out the set –  accompanied by bandmate Tim Hause – with a harmony-laden Where The Summer Goes and proves herself to be far more than a ‘ last minute replacement’.

It’s five minutes later and a denim-clad fellow strolls onto the stage, straps on an acoustic guitar and proceeds to play a set of melancholy, emotive songs to those in attendance. Robyn G Shiels is a sight to behold ; behind his glasses lies a man playing music with such conviction and honesty that tracks like Hello Death and An Offering As Such suck the audience into their dark folk tales with ease. Besides his cutting Northern Irish humour, a standout moment here is a wonderful rendition of Underneath A Night Of Starsproviding a stark and atmospheric end to a strong supporting set.

A veteran of the late 90’s/early 00’s punk rock scene, there was a time when Dave Hause seemed to be everywhere, whether it was playing with heartland punkers The Loved Ones or being a staple of the much lauded Revival Tour. It’s a little rarer to see the man on UK shores these days, but with a brilliant new record out and a tour to promote it, Hause is here to prove his worth once again.

Opening with a blistering Damascus, the band build to the songs crashing ending as if it were the final song of the set – alas it is not as new kid The Flinch with it’s pulsing backbeat and the “Woah-oh” refrain of Autism Vaccine Blues hurtle from the venues PA. Since the dissolution of his former band, Hause has forged a simple but highly effective path of catchy, storytelling rock music and live he comes across as ‘Punk Rock Springsteen’ commanding the stage with all of the charisma of the original Boss but with added venom. This is showcased on the goodtime AC/DC stomp of Dirty Fucker and the confessional blues grind of The Mermaid which makes surprisingly good use of the melodica throughout.

Speaking of The Mermaid, Hause’s backing band for the tour are a tower of strength, providing three-part harmonies with ease and helping their front-man’s music –  old and new –  leap out of the speakers. Firm live favorite Time Will Tell gets a huge singalong as does Devour classic We Could Be Kings which sees Hause deliver a vocal performance as strong as any in his genre.

As the farewell duo of Prague (Revive Me) and a rousing C’mon Kid tie things up this evening, there is a feeling of solidarity in the crowd and from the stage. Dave Hause is bringing to the live arena something that seems to be a lost art in this musical climate ; providing people with meaningful yet catchy as heck music, delivered by a man who wants to take you to the places he’s been, see life through his eyes, but also wants to give you a damn good rock n’ roll show while he’s doing it. (9)

Dave Hause – Bury Me In Philly

It feels like Dave Hause has been around forever. From his his mid 90’s stint in hardcore with Step Ahead, the formation of punk rock mainstays The Loved Ones, and his time served on the much lauded Revival Tour, Hause has taken pointers from his peers and built an enviable rep in the process. Having ingrained himself into the punk/folk rock tapestry over the years, he has carved out an impressive niche as a solo artist as of late, delivering music that injects a shot of heartland americana into his tried and tested punk rock formula. Upcoming release and third solo effort Bury Me In Philly sees him drawing from a hatful of influences and pushing the hookier aspects of his sound to the forefront.

Bury Me In Philly bolts through the door with the piano-driven With You. It’s the closest to The Loved Ones sound Hause has come in a quite sometime, all the while delivering infectious guitar lines alongside a classic ‘sleep when we’re dead’ attitude. The sound of With You, almost sets a precedent for the rest of the tracks here too, with a well oiled rhythm section supporting larger than life vocal hooks.

Lyrically, the record delivers a hell of a punch, with Divine Lorraine paying homage to his hometown while telling a much broader story and the bluesy grind of The Mermaid, name-checking a variety of musical luminaries and conjuring up images of past struggles. Elsewhere we see Dave getting autobiographical on punchy Springsteen-esque rockers The Flinch and My Mistake, two tracks which will undoubtedly sit well in a live setting alongside the likes of Cmon Kid and We Could Be Kings.

The latest in a trilogy of solo servings, Bury Me In Philly builds on past efforts Devour and Resolutions and seemingly bridges the gap that has existed between these records and Hause’s previous band. Whereas previous works have found him treading carefully between folk troubadour and contemplative american storyteller, this time around sees both elements brought to the table and turned up to eleven in both the songwriting and punk spirit. It’s not all unbridled rock action though, with Hause finding the time to get introspective on the fragile Wild Love, providing a highlight of both record and career.

The strong suit of Bury Me In Philly is it’s soulful voice, honest lyrics and punchy rock n’roll, which can go along way in a climate of cardboard cut-out musicians. For fans who have enjoyed Mr Hause’s previous solo works but have longed for something with a little more drive and fire, Bury Me In Philly undoubtedly meets you halfway and then some.

Bury Me In Philly is released on February 3rd through Rise Records.