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Concert Review: Davy Knowles – El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA – 4/22/09

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After his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4th, Jeff Beck and his backing band did a quick tour of club dates across the country. Davy Knowles was selected as his opening act, which had to be as intimidating as being asked to make an appetizer for a meal made by Chef Gordon Ramsay. Of course, anyone aware of the young man’s talents won’t be surprised that he delivered some tasty audio treats.

Having seen him play electric twice in a trio and being awed each time, I was intrigued as Knowles walked out onto the El Rey stage alone with just an acoustic guitar. He was going to sing a song about a train crash but just as he started to strum he broke a string. Quickly exchanging guitars with his tech, he offered up Rory Gallagher’s “As The Crow Flies” with some blistering slide work. After the song and the applause ended, a woman shouted out that it was a good thing that string broke.

Stating it was inspired by legends Robert Johnson and Son House, Knowles offered up “Saving Myself,” a song off his upcoming album, which is being produced Peter Frampton. It’s got a great Delta blues sound and works so well acoustically I hope that if the song gets an electric arrangement for the album version, a copy of the unplugged version will show up as a B-side somewhere.

On John Hiatt’s “Slow Turning,” Knowles showed off the dexterity of his fingers as he worked the neck during the bridge. He then offered up the classic in my book “Come Home” from his first album and closed with a Leadbelly tune.

When the way-too-short 34-minute set ended, two men behind me cracked out their hand-held devices and began to google Knowles, making at least two more converts and I have no doubt there were others. Kudos go to the sound engineer who assisted in presenting a crisp and clear sound of Knowles and his guitar. That’s not always the case for opening acts.

I was surprised the Knowles wasn’t brought out to jam with Beck and the band. Joss Stone came out for Sly Stone’s “Higher” and John Mayer joined them for a rendition of Hendrix’s. Everyone’s loss.

“Saving Myself”:

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS
  • Nate Cake

    Love it Vinny… Love it. Whatchu upto dawg?

  • Vinny

    That’s it Nate, big yourself up!!!

  • Nate, I have witnessed three and have yet to hear one not reach that threshold.

  • Nate Cake

    Great performance from Davy Knowles. This kid kicks some serious ass. Also, my kudos to his sound engineer.

  • briannah swope

    John hathaway, you are interesting and funny!

  • briannah swope

    Eragon was the best book i have ever readincluding the 1st 2nd 3rd and 4th Cristopher, you are the best book writer ever in the world!

  • I’m going in pursuit of the Bonnaroo set and I’m going to Amazon right now to pre-order Coming Up For Air. One of these days, you have a beer on me.

  • Josh, their live set at Bonnaroo is currently available and a review is forthcoming. Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam – Coming Up for Air is due out June 16, 2009.

    Glen, Beck (sorry to put those two words together) was very impressive as was his band, especially the babyfaced bass player, but without knowing his music, it kind of blends all together hearing it for the first time. I only knew the covers, like “Day in the Life,” but the people that paid the $65 and waited hours before the doors opened were happy. Wish I could have caught him and Rod Stewart the night before.

  • So how was Beck?


  • I still owe you for turning me on to BDS and Davy Knowles. It’s great to hear about this show. I’m counting on you to let me know when that debut solo disc (or whatever moniker he chooses) is released!