Concert Review: Owen at the Beachland Tavern

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From the moment Owen’s Mike Kinsella took the Beachland Tavern stage, the bar seemed to get a little warmer. It was evident at the first gleeful holler from an enthusiastic member of the densely packed crowd; even more so when Kinsella’s perspiration traveled from his forehead to the glazed wood of his acoustic guitar — which had been doodled on twice by one or both of the family man’s young children. Pinpointing the source of this electric liveliness isn’t easy, but it made the set, and Kinsella, seem more genuine. Most of what he played shined light on of his gifted lyrical ability — as in “O, Evelyn,” a tender ode to his daughter — and guitar virtuosity, like the sweet, noodly melody of “The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi.” Kinsella’s humility and sense of humor only added to the fun in the intimate venue, as he took a fan-bought shot midway through “Bad News” and joked with audience members throughout. His willingness to involve his supporters meant that many went home having heard their favorites as he took fan suggestions for the entire encore, a four-song finale that included an unusual, yet surprisingly fitting, cover of “Call Your Girlfriend” by Swedish pop singer Robyn. Kinsella aptly reminded the near capacity crowd why he has been hailed as so integral to the indie scene of his home state of Illinois for most of his musical career, all the while showing that the distinction isn’t something that needs to come with a bratty ego.

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