Dave Davies Revisits His Garage Rock Glory Days at the Music Box

There’s a great moment in Sunny Afternoon, the terrific British musical based on the music of the Kinks, that captures how excited brothers Ray and Dave Davies must’ve been when they took the distorted guitar riff that propels “You Really Got Me” and really cranked it up for the very first time. When the house band plays it during the musical, it resonates throughout the theater and sends chills.

Some 50 years later, that song still strikes a powerful chord, and it brought a capacity crowd to its feet when Davies played it last night at the end of his 90-minute concert at the Music Box Supper Club. While a little erratic (the 72-year-old Davies can’t consistently hit the high notes anymore, and he tends to introduce songs by simply using their titles in a sentence), the concert still provided a nostalgic look back at one of Britain’s finest musical exports.

“I feel good!” yelled Davies as he walked onto the stage with bassist David Nolte and drummer Dennis Diken. Wearing baggy black pants and a pink-ish satin sport coat, he then launched into the Kinks classics “Till the End of the Day” and “I Need You.” The trio’s rendition of the tunes emphasized the garage rock side of the Kinks’ sound, and heavy bass and drums nearly overwhelmed the tunes.

“Creeping Jean,” a B-side from Davies’ final solo release of the ’60s, came off as an oppressive power ballad, but Davies would rebound with “Tired of Waiting for You,” a track he described as “one of my favorite old Kinks songs.” Though he struggled to hit the tune’s high notes, Davies still captured the despair that’s at the song’s heart.

With “Susannah’s Still Alive,” Davies and Co. returned to playing gritty garage rock, and they sounded really sharp on the Kinks tune “See My Friends,” a track characterized by its brittle guitar riffs and psychedelic rock overtones.

The concert’s tone shifted as Davies picked up an acoustic guitar for “Strangers,” a folky Kinks tune with a catchy refrain. Davies continued to play acoustic guitar on “Too Much on My Mind” and the Kinks ballad “Young and Innocent Days.” The latter featured Nolte on keyboards.

After encouraging fans to sing along to his solo tune “Death of a Clown,” Davies turned to Kinks classics such as “Living on a Thin Line,” a tune that benefited from its fervent call-and-response vocals, and the rousing “All Day and All of the Night.” He then capably delivered “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” a Kinks song he said was about “independence,” and concluded the concert with a riveting rendition of the aforementioned “You Really Got Me.”

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