Reviewed by Roy Trakin.
Dave Davies at the Roxy, L.A.
Funny I should be reading Chrissie Hynde’s biography when the erstwhile lead guitarist of The Kinks hit town for a rare solo appearance amidst the constant din of reunions with his older brother Ray.
Since suffering a stroke more than 10 years ago, Dave has sporadically toured, and he arrived in town with a band featuring guitarist Jonathan Lea, bassist/keyboardist Tom Currier and Smithereens co-founder/drummer Dennis Diken.
It’s a tight, little ensemble, but it’s all about Dave, and more than that, The Kinks, of which he was an all-important member as the guy who virtually invented heavy metal fuzz-toned guitar with his solos on “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night.”
He starts off with “Rippin Up Time,” the title track to his most recent solo album, but then segues into the familiar riff from “All Day,” delighting the crowd. Davies dips into the deep songbook for “She’s Got Everything,” a B-side to the 1968 single, “Days,” which eventually appeared on the Kinks Kronikles compilation album four years later.
Dave’s characteristic crunchy guitar appears on “Creeping Jean,” a song originally recorded in 1968 as the B-side to his fourth credited solo single, “Hold My Hand,” on which he sang lead vocals. He follows the classic “Tired of Waiting” with “Front Room,” another new song that pays tribute to his own influences, like Eddie Cochrane, Buddy Holly and Howlin’ Wolf with a few choice power chords.
Another choice nugget, the raga-like “See My Friends,” from 1965, segues into “In You I Believe,” from his 1980 solo album, AFLI 4036/Glamour, distinguished by its car code cover, a stately, deliberate rocker. He pulls out an acoustic guitar for “Strangers,” a wonderfully hidden gem from Lola, one of two songs from that album he wrote, with its plaintive lyrics, “So where are you going I don’t mind/If I live too long I’m afraid I’ll die,” with a line that could allude to his relationship with his estranged brother: “If your offered hand is still open to me.”
He then dedicates Arthur’s “Young and Innocent Days” “my beloved brother Raymond,” then pretends to look for him in the audience.
For his biggest solo hit, “Death of a Clown,” he brings on partner Rebecca G. Wilson for back-up vocals, before a crowd-pleasing segment featuring Word of Mouth’s “Living on a Thin Line,” “Dead End Street,” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?,” “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” and a climactic “You Really Got Me.”
Throughout, Dave is an enthusiastic cheerleader, encouraging the crowd to clap along and have a good time, but there’s an underlying void, a missing Kink, if you will, that makes the band’s aging fan base wonder if we’ll ever get to see the two brothers bury the hatchet and play together.