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Urbanites & John Davey @ Greyhouse (West Lafayette, IN)

July 31, 2010

The Greyhouse summer concert series ended in a blaze of Plaid Cowboy Shirt glory last night. (Seriously, I saw at least 7.) Urbanites rocked the house, showing that Greyhouse had saved the best for last. The night started out with John Davey on acoustic guitar. Actually, it started with his impostor. In the stage area outside of Greyhouse, an aspiring guitarist hammed it up for his friends.

NOT John Davey

I was a little confused, until I saw the crowd for the real show gathering inside. Hopefully no one else was fooled by the shenanigans.

The real John Davey

John Davey has been on the West Lafayette music scene since 2007. Once he opened his mouth to sing, I realized I heard him at Greyhouse  a few months before. At that earlier show, hipster teens packed the house. One girl exclaimed to her friend “OMG, he sounds just like Ben Gibbard!” And it’s true. He has that  signature, slightly breathy tone with expressive volume control. The Ben Gibbard comparison seems like it would be flattering at first, but obnoxious the millionth time. Maybe I’m right– his tone became more distinct as the set wore on.

Davey’s guitar skill is complimented by his lyrical ability. Each song seems to tell a story, like the balladesque “Down by the Willows.” His last song, “Funeral Day,” presents a light-hearted twist on what would otherwise be a somber tale.

Despite a VERY chatty audience (argh!) he received loud claps and cheers at the end of his set. Davey is recording a full-length album to be released sometime this fall, so stay on the lookout.

As Urbanites prepared to take the stage, the house went from full to packed. About 8 hipster teens squeezed past me to sit on the floor in front of the stage. The diehard fans had arrived.

This Valparaiso quartet is a tad louder than typical Greyhouse fare. So, it’s no surprise that their set brought a smile to my face. I must pause here to make a confession: As much as I appreciate thoughtful-chill-indie music, a heavy bass line is the key to my heart. And having heard copious amounts of acoustic guitar this month, it was a welcome change of pace.

Urbanites played an energized set, with an effortlessly engaged stage presence. (Enough “e” words for you?) Their signature appears to be tremolo guitar. If pushed for a comparison, I’d say they vaguely remind me of a better version of Kings of Leon. Ultimately, I think these guys are going places. The affectionate crowd would agree too. Front row diehards sang along, with some demonstrating air guitar skills.  Urbanites even got the audience to sing (for real) the “ooohhhhh” refrain on “Colour the White Noise.” The end of the set was met with a burst of cheers and applause.

You can download their latest album, The Years, through a link on their MySpace–for FREE! (What is with artists giving away their music?) But I have to say, hearing the tracks on your computer does not compare to seeing them live.

On a side note, this is a music-packed weekend for me. In a few hours, I’ll be on my way to Our Scene Don’t Suck Fest in Indy. I’ll be tweeting in every now and then, so check out the Twitter sidebar on the upper right, or follow me @girlattheshow


Girl At The Show


John Davey on MySpace:

Urbanites on MySpace:

Urbanites on Tumblr:


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