Dave Hause @ Cabooze Plaza
Social Distortion, Cheap Time, Dave Hause
July 2, 2013
Dave Hause is a busy guy. I swear I get an email a week here at SPB about either a new tour or a new record. Heck, we just reviewed one of his 7” series last week, C’mon Kid on Sabot. Despite all that, I just knew him as the ex-Loved Ones singer.
Well, he lived up to that quickly, jumping into a Loved Ones song second in his set (and another later on). However, he proved he isn’t just a singer without a band, coasting by on his good looks and his old songs. The rest of the set was all solo material, just Hause and guitar, adding occasional percussion by banging his guitarback or through coaxing the audience into clapping along.
It was a hot night in Minneapolis, and the stage faced a bright sunset in the parking lot outside of a mid-size venue. In other words, while the audience had an excuse to be drinking beer under the tents, Hause had to work the crowd. In addition, he was act one of three, and as the aging Social Distortion fans trickled in, most were either just off work and at the bar, or just not interested. While there’s always that extra intimacy with a solo performer, Hause played it well, interacting with the crowd, namedropping a bazillion local music-related institutions from the Triple Rock to the Replacements, showing an air for showmanship. Even those who didn’t like this music should have at least left the night feeling respect for his performance.
As for the performance itself, it was the last night of a tour but he didn’t show any wear, instead being grateful for the crowd that came early and taking the direct sun without effect. It’s mostly folk singer-songwriter-styled stuff, well explained by his role on the 2013 Revival Tour a few months back. There’s a clear punk rock undertone, included not only in audience wardrobe but also through the song structures that focus on a direct simplicity and a penchant for a good anthem. Besides, he’s a well-traveled, 30-something-plus punk, and he threw some nice jibes for punk insiders too. “It’s nice to be in this parking lot, not the other one…the one with the bangs,” he noted early on, clearly a shot at the Warped Tour (often hosted at the Metrodome parking lot up the street). He alternates between electric and acoustic, but the set was probably 80% acoustic—and those songs were the better. The Loved Ones songs, while a nice touch and a throwback down memory lane, are better suited for a full band as the guitar parts were a bit repetitive. Capping it at two songs was a smart move: ties to the past, but looking forward.
Without a full knowledge of his catalog, the highlight probably being the Joe Strummer tribute, starting with a “Coma Girl” cover and morphing into an original/medley hybrid halfway in. The Strummer influence shows throughout his material, and it pulled the tone of celebration, working class, and direct and honest communication to the forefront for a big closer in which he utilized his setting, throwing out local references and working the Social Distortion crowd to his favor.
Up next came Cheap Time from Nashville. A band I’ve heard, but regrettably can’t keep straight from Cheap Girls—whom I first heard at the same time. I won’t be making that mistake again, with the three-piece imagery burned into my memory as the band played a fierce, no frills set while squinting into the crowd. It’s direct, dirty rock. The kind that’s sleazy without the entrendre, instead letting the musical tone and swagger make its impression while they just rock the fuck out. If I’d picked up a record from any of the bands, they’d have been the one.
Social Distortion headlined to close the night and the tour. It’s always a different experience seeing such a big band when I’m used to venues of 100-300 people, but they’re pros for a reason. The setlist was heavy on the classics and the group didn’t miss a note, including in Mike Ness’ delivery which, frankly, I’d expected to be raspier and more off-key, perhaps akin to catching Rancid live. Instead it was mostly straight-up performance with little talk. They acknowledged the crowd and city a few times, but kept the focus on banging out the hits. No surprises, but no letdowns either; it delivered exactly as expected.
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