Davy Knowles at Space in Evanston, IL

Davy Knowles brings a full band show to Space in Evanston for a night of familiar faces and brand-new music. 

Some people are just meant to be on the stage. The opener for the evening, JD Eicher, most certainly falls into this category. The singer-songwriter won the audience over immediately with his beautiful lyrics accompanied by his acoustic guitar. Throughout his set, he told detailed backstories to each of his songs which really helped to paint a picture before hearing the song performed. JD entertained the Space crowd with a selection of original songs as well as beautiful covers of Tracy Chapman and Jackson Browne tracks. It’s not very often you see an opening act connect with an audience so fully, and it was a pleasure to experience that. 

It’s no secret to anyone that here at Loud Hailer, we are big fans of Davy Knowles and will drop anything to catch one of his shows when he is performing nearby. When he is back home in Chicago, he typically performs at Space in Evanston, a venue that is perfect for this type of show. It’s intimate and relaxed, and you feel like you’re sitting in a room full of friends, some of whom you have yet to meet, and some you already have. Almost all of his Chicago-area shows are at this venue which adds to that familiarity and we love that. The moment this show gets announced, you have to jump on it to secure your seats because you know it’s going to be a popular one, and for good reason! 

For those of you on Davy’s mailing list, you have had the pleasure of following along with his time in Shirk Studios for the last week or so, recording the new album. It’s been a great insight into a musician’s work in the studio, highlighting that it’s not all fun and games and takes a lot of hard work and dedication, something that Knowles never shies away from. Last year saw the release of If I Should Wander, with a handful of one-man acoustic shows in support of it. While he is still doing some of these shows every now and again (hint, hint – the Chicago area needs one of these too!), the current shows are primarily full band lineup and showcasing some of the new and upcoming music.

After hearing snippets of the new material during his studio diary series, it was great to hear the songs in their entirety and finished forms. It feels very different listening to new music being performed when you haven’t heard it before. It’s certainly not a bad thing and, in fact, it adds a whole different feel to the concert experience as you are taking it all in fresh. There was a tangible excitement after each song as everyone waited to see what would be next. After the wonderful acoustic experience of If I Should Wander, Davy mentioned before heading to the studio that the new music was going to be more of a blues/rock experience. Safe to say, the new music has, without a doubt, been worth the wait, and it was noticeable that many of the audience were already singing along with choruses by the end of songs they were hearing for the very first time. That in itself tells you everything you need to know about the quality of Davy’s new material. 

The band was still able to let rip on some more familiar tunes such as “Riverbed,” “Oxford MS,” “Coming Up For Air,” and “Hell To Pay.” We defy anyone to be able to sit still during these foot-stomping songs!  

For the full band shows, Knowles is joined by long-time collaborators Tod Michael Bowers on bass and Mike Hansen on drums. It’s a fantastic rhythm section that provides a super solid base (with just the right amount of groove) over which Davy can weave his magic. It’s really a joy to watch the band interact with one another on stage. On the night they all looked delighted to be there. It has to be said as well that, considering how many brand new songs they played in the set, it was impressive that nobody put a foot wrong! 

To round out the evening, a rather sheepish Davy brought out a brand new guitar he had just acquired earlier that day, apologizing to his wife who was in attendance and completely unaware of the purchase. Since it was a 1962 Gretsch Corvette, it could mean only one thing – the show was capped off with a raucous cover of Rory Gallagher’s “Bullfrog Blues” which got the entire audience on their feet through until the last note.   

The new album will be released later this year, and we can’t wait to hear the finished product. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!