Davy Knowles at Space in Evanston, IL

Davy Knowles received a very warm welcome back to the Space in Evanston stage for the first time in a year. 

The last time we caught a Davy Knowles show was back in 2020 when venues were trying their hardest to put on shows just out of lockdown. It was a time when we were desperate to see live music but still nervous about being in an enclosed space with other people. Everyone was sitting at tables that were spread far apart from each other so there were way fewer people in the room than usual pre-covid. To say it was a weird feeling is an understatement. Fast forward 23 months, and looking around the room in Space made the 2020 show feel like a distant past. The room was filled with lots of happy, smiling, and familiar faces waiting for the show to begin. It was almost a year to the day since Davy performed in this exact room, and the crowd was more than ready for it.

Whenever Davy Knowles takes to a stage, you have exactly five seconds to catch your breath, because, trust us, you will not have another chance to come up for air until the first three songs are over and Knowles greets the audience. Knowles, joined by Tod Bowers (bass) and Mike Hansen (drums), kicked the night off with “Ain’t Much of Nothin,” “Riverbed,” and “Catch The Moon.” These three songs are some of the more ferocious songs in his whole catalog. If anyone in attendance needed to be woken up, they surely just were. No need for Red Bulls here! 

If you’ve ever seen Davy Knowles perform live before, then you’ll know that it’s not all about hard-hitting blues rock. Indeed, the show takes you on a journey through the harder edge blues rock numbers, more classic blues-tinged numbers, along with finger-picked singer-songwriter material. Of course, there is always a good healthy dose of blues-rock with searing guitar solos to blow off any cobwebs. It was an amazing feeling that transported us all the way back to 2019 before the world went crazy. It was almost as if it had never happened. 

There is always a special feeling about these adopted hometown shows of Davy’s. Family, friends, and familiar faces all gather together, all knowing you have the commonality of the love of the music and support of the musicians on the stage. The atmosphere does feel like it’s turned up to level 12 on nights like these. Hopefully, Davy, Tod, and Mike all feel that extra electricity that the crowd does.

The majority of the set drew from the two latest albums, What Happens Next and Three Miles from Avalon with songs such as “Oxford, MS” having most of the audience singing, stamping their feet, or clapping along. The emotionally charged “If I Meet My Maker” was a change of pace to the point you could have heard a pin drop. That song is enough to bring a tear to the eye of the most stone-hearted of us, with beautifully poetic and honest lyrics that wouldn’t be out of place on a Jason Isbell or John Moreland album. Finishing off the night exactly how they began, they performed a searing cover of Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing.” To say this was an impressive cover is putting it mildly. If you closed your eyes and listened to the riffs and finger-picked lines played by Knowles through a shiny PRS Silver Sky, you could have been forgiven for thinking that was Mark Knopfler up there. 

Never one to sit still for too long, Davy has tour dates scheduled through until early November so be sure to check out any dates near you. And mark our words, be sure to take a deep breath as he walks onto that stage because you’ll need it!

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About Kirstine Walton 386 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!