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Concert Review: Ray Davies with Locksley, 11/28/08 at Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL

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Ray Davies may very well be the Kinks’ biggest fan. Who could blame him, really, considering the catalog he gets to choose from in concert. That its songs derive from his pen doesn’t seem to humble the man in the slightest; to the contrary, such only adds to his pride in playing them.

The audience inside the Tampa Theatre on Friday night was equally as thrilled in witnessing the British music legend perform a generous portion of the Kinks songbook as well as select solo efforts.

Accompanied by guitarist Bill Shanley, Davies worked through the mostly acoustic set while seated, for the most part, at a barstool. What the music lacked in volume, though, it made up for with integrity, the modest approach underscoring the depth and craft of his creations.

Opening with three Kinks rockers — “I Need You,” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?” and “Till The End Of The Day” — Davies hit his stride straight off, his organic renditions coursing forth with rigor and sway. He often summoned the audience to sing along — he needn’t have asked — as on “Sunny Afternoon” and “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion,” the latter introduced as “an old English folksong.” As well, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” inspired a rousing chorus, ironically one laced with sneering dissidence.

Formalities cast aside — the no-flash camera rule and a subdued audience among them — Davies gamely honored requests for “Alcohol” and “Low Budget,” seemingly as happy to hear them as anyone else.

The casual camaraderie extended to when he offered up a sampling of his solo work, including “The Tourist” — its love/hate sentiment embraced by the native Floridians in attendance — and “Working Man’s Café,” which Davies prefaced with a warm recollection of meeting up with his brother Dave for lunch. After a classic double shot of “Tired Of Waiting For You” and “Set Me Free,” he as well dedicated “All Day And All Of The Night” to his brother to close the main set.

Opening band Locksley provided a fantastic complement to the main performance, unleashing an arsenal of electric guitars and catchy pop melodies. In songs like “Don’t Make Me Wait” and “Why Can’t I Be You,” the Brooklyn-based quartet — fronted, incidentally, by brothers, Jesse and Jordan Laz — demonstrated some serious chops as well as the headliner’s enduring influence.

Such made for a celebratory, rambunctious grand finale when, at the end of the night, Ray Davies and Locksley shared the stage, charging through “You Really Got Me” in a garage-rock maelstrom. Concluding with “Victoria” and “Lola,” the musicians looked overjoyed, none moreso than the well respected man at the center of all this sound and fury.

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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Joan Armatrading, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.
  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I’ve heard Ray Davies wants to get the Kinks back together, but brother Dave is the one standing in the way. Could the fact that they shared lunch be a sign that the freeze is thawing?

    -Glen

  • Dr. Jimmy

    Dave Davies suffered a stroke four years ago. Ray has stated if and when he feels well enough for a reunion, it’ll happen.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I had no idea. Obviously that would tend to complicate things. Here’s hoping Dave makes a complete recovery.

    -Glen