Dave Davies Excites Suffolk Theater Riverhead, NY 4-22-17

Dave Davies Excites Suffolk Theater Riverhead, NY 4-22-17

Everyone has their own way of doing things. Some follow the crowd, others march to the beat of a different drum, and Dave Davies has proudly chosen the latter. One of eight siblings, Davies gravitated toward music at a young age, which led him and his older brother Ray to eventually join forces. Together, along with the late Pete Quaife on bass and Mick Avory on drums, they would go on to forge the legend of The Kinks. A bold standout during the British Rock Invasion during the 1960s, The Kinks are considered one of the most influential Rock-n-Roll bands of all-time.

Now over a half-century later, Mr. Dave Davies continues to find musical inspiration in people, life, and the surrounding world, leading him into his most recent collaboration with his son Russ on the album Open Road. One of many father/son works in recent years, others including The Aschere Project, Davies returned to the road on April 6th, embarking on what would be a month long North American tour. A tour which sees Davies, along with Bassist/Keyboardist David Nolte and The Smithereens’ Drummer Dennis Diken, visit everywhere from Manhattan all the way to Nashville, on Saturday, April 22nd, they headed out to Riverhead, New York. Normally an unlikely destination for Rock-n-Roll, in recent years, the refurbished Suffolk Theater has brought some much needed culture to the historic Long Island village, and on this otherwise calm night, a packed house anxiously awaited the arrival of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. 

With an electric vibe flowing through the room, couples enjoyed drinks and food prior to the set kicking off just after the 8PM hour. Walking onto the platform, the recently turned seventy year old Davies smiled and waved to the enthusiastic audience. Sharing in the enthusiasm that permeated from the front all the way to the mezzanine in the back, Davies wasted no time showcasing the new music, strumming into “Open Road.” A rather introspective tune, those whom have yet to pick up the album which came out March 30th certainly were compelled to after hearing the title-track live. 

From there, it was off to a vivid trip down memory lane as Davies celebrated some classic tracks from The Kinks catalogue including “I Need You,” “She’s Got Everything,” and “Creeping Jean.” All favorites that clearly resonated with the audience, many raised their hands in the air, singing along each word with power and excitement. The energy was youthful and it continued as Davies moved into the 1965 hit “Tired of Waiting for You.” Taking a quick breather, Davies addressed the audience, assuring them he was just getting started, and from there the treasure trove of Kinks music kept coming. Going into “Susannah’s Still Alive,” a 1967 recording Davies wrote and took lead vocals on, he continued to show passion, singing loudly.

Already putting on a strong performance, perhaps the brightest aspect of the set was his engaging personality. Opposed to just rattling off one song after another with little interaction, Davies acknowledged the fans, laughed with them, and even had an extra zealous ladies’ pants thrown in his face. All in good fun, Davies embraced the moment as more music followed with “See My Friends,” “Too Much on My Mind,” and “Young and Innocent Days.” Reflections of The Kinks’ diversity through the years and Davies’ ever distinct guitar sound, they were soon matched by “This Man He Weeps Tonight,” “I Am Free,” and Davies’ solo hit “Death of a Clown,” spicing up the rendition with the lovely Rebecca taking on backing vocals.

Keeping Rebecca on the stage with himself and his bandmates, they dug deeper into the past history of The Kinks with “Dead End Street,””Living on a Thin Line,” “Where Have All the Good Times Gone,” and finally the adored hard rocking “All Day and All of the Night.” Complete with the raw guitar tone that provoke a primal instinct to want to get up and dance, everyone flooded the floor in front of the stage doing just that. Bidding his fans good night, cheers continued to fill the room before Davies returned moments later dressed in a different garment, confessing, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” blasting through the 1966 defiant anthem with conviction. Having everyone going wild, the time was right for the unmistakable, legendary “You Really Got Me.” Complete with the dirty, heavy guitar riff everyone knows and love, the cover was blown off Suffolk Theater as everyone danced and shouted along the words for an unhinged grand finale. 

What can one say about Dave Davies’ live performance. For one, it is not an evening of just going through the motions only to earn a paycheck and cash in on the glory of the past, ever so evident from the performance of the new song “Path Is Long.” Secondly, and most importantly, Davies loves what he is doing, and is still more than efficient at doing it. Shuffling through some killer guitar solos, shouting out some unfiltered vocals, and showing the energy of men half his age, this is what Rock-n-Roll is all about. Fortunately for Long Islanders, he chose to make the trip out to Suffolk Theater, arguably one of the most memorable shows to date since it opened its doors back in 2013. As for the rest of the USA, Davies will be rounding out the current run of shows on May 1st when he visits City Winery down in Nashville, but let your heart not be troubled, it is an open road, and this Rock icon still wants to travel it. 

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Frank Malerba
frank@crypticrock.com
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