By Milly Randall, First year English
'His stage presence, which exuded the air of confidence which really can only be achieved by a seasoned musician', Milly Randall reviews Keuning at Thekla.
On entering Thekla it was clear, that instead of the usual mood of the venue (sweaty, and softly perfumed with vomit) today it would house an uncharacteristically wholesome and intimate affair. There was a small group of what were clearly hardcore “Dave” fans, gathered in anticipation around the stage, for what I’m sure met their anticipations and expectations, as it certainly did to a new fan.
First we were warmed up with Scott Ruth, who really escalated the already established humour of intimacy. The crowd was mostly still, as Ruth gave us melancholic ballads eulogising a past lover, who he later assured us “was kind of a bitch”. A special mention for the lighting team here is definitely deserved, the warm yellows were subtle and curated a pleasantly mellow mood.
The Keuning performance was a positively uplifting experience, Dave himself performed with charisma and restraint. His stage presence, which exuded the air of confidence which really can only be achieved by a seasoned musician, gave the impression of someone truly content with their current career destination.
A special mention is definitely deserved for Keuning’s top hits: “The Queen’s Finest”, “Boat Accident” and “Restless Legs”, which despite their novelty felt familiar, with logical melodies which rather than predictable were comforting and heartening. Keuning’s incredibly solid debut, in this sense is not only a work in itself, but provides much promise for future albums.
Lyrically and performatively, it was refreshing to see representation of someone “older” (within the context of the current climate of pop music), there low-energy, mature performance was fresh and clearly welcomed by his audience. It meant a focus on the music, where equally lyrics were complex and subtle, indicative of life experience and introspection.
Having written this album singlehandedly, vocally Dave seemed highly connected to the songs, meaning his performance was persuasive as well as somewhat vulnerable. This tension was well received by the audience, and, retrospectively, it seemed this was potentially intended. All in all, I would highly recommend future Keuning gigs for a relaxed and alternative way to spend the evening. It was overall, restorative, and certainly brightened up my Monday.
Featured Image: Phil Romans/ Flickr
Want to write a review for Epigram Music? Get in touch...