A magical night with our favorite Philly brothers at London’s most stunning venue.
Dave Hause and his brother Tim are always such an absolute treat. While we’re more used to seeing them perform with full band The Mermaid, this tour was a very special one. The pair played a handful of unique venues across Europe including London’s gorgeous Union Chapel.
Almost a year since the release of Dave’s latest record KICK, and a little over a year since the birth of his twins, it seems 2019 has treated Dave Hause well. The show at Union Chapel, with support from the superb Northcote, is a reflection of that and has us all wrapped around his fingers.
Playing tracks from his new album as well as some of the fan favorites from previous releases, the setlist also holds a cover of Americana singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile’s Hold Out Your Hand and a nod to Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison. But more on that later…
What becomes obvious throughout the evening is that Hause knows how to rearrange his tracks to fit whatever settings they’re being played in. A stripped-back version of a normally very rock-heavy Paradise open up proceedings and set the tone for the night. Some other songs are just perfectly suited to be played in an acoustic setting such as Damascus or Time Will Tell.
But whether it’s the hook-laden We Could Be Kings, the somehow fittingly titled Shaky Jesus or the anthemic C’mon Kid, Dave and Tim always keep that honesty that shines through in their lyrics and music. If you add Dave’s voice perfectly echoing throughout the holy rooms it’s a bit of a divine experience.
The latter of which Dave makes sure to poke fun at a little. Having been brought up in a Christian household the experience between his upbringing in that environment and that of his brother Tim fifteen years later was vastly different. “Things are much less strict when you’re the little baby …” Dave says. “Yeah, there is no rules.” Tim laughs. “I was like What was it like growing up under the thumb of evangelic Christianity? and he says No problem, man! It was pretty cool, they taught me how to sing.” Dave continues. He also explains how it felt like a weight on his shoulders that has stuck with him for many years, and that eventually with therapy and rock’n’roll, and almost dying, he now feels good about it. “To be able to walk in, and fill the room with OUR vibe, all of you and what we’re doing here, instead of a vibe that is about control, it does feel like an act of sabotage and I want to thank you for being part of it.” He concludes before launching into, you guessed it, Saboteurs.
Later on, Dave tells us about his first show in England which was at The Gaff, one of London’s iconic punk venues that is now sadly closed, where he essentially played to an empty room. “I had no idea what life had in store and I was between bands, and I was in a relationship that was failing, and I was trying to put out a record. And here we are! Nine years later we’re in this room, all together. I don’t know what to say, other than thank you so so so so much! For giving us the opportunity to play over and over and over in London. Back then all I had was this song and maybe a couple others.” he says as he picks the first notes of Resolutions.
We need to talk about Bearing Down. The track has stuck with us since the release of KICK, and even after listening to it over a hundred times, we still get goosebumps and chills every time. And if tonight wasn’t already a deeply honest and scar-presenting evening for Dave Hause, he opens up even further. Not only does this deepen the connection with his fanbase, but it’s much more important on another level. Men think that talking about feelings isn’t “manly”, male suicide is the number one cause of death in young men. And seeing an audience that is predominantly 30 to 40-year old men, it is inspiring to see Dave Hause open up like this and speak about his struggles and even if it makes a difference to just one person with similar thoughts, we’ve made progress.
Speaking of his own mental health, Dave says “There were some very very very low times, times when I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to keep going. And if you’re at this show tonight, and you know someone that’s going through a similar kind of thing, I just encourage you, I mean, just to take a little minute, take a breath, because I had no idea that by just continuing to move one foot in front of the other that the decade would improve and I would end up being able to make music with my brother. And find someone that found things about me that I didn’t love, that she loved, and I got another shot. Another shot at making music, another shot at love. And we have two beautiful one-year-old twin babies. So you just never what’s coming round the corner, you never know how things could improve. Just take a little minute, take a breath, see if you can get the help that you may need. And things might turn around. I can’t promise it, but it did for me, and that’s what this song lands on at the end.”
With a snippet of Frightened Rabbit’s The Woodpile tangled into Bearing Down, we were certainly not the only ones sobbing in that church. The mix of the emotional speech, seeing oneself or someone you know in that speech and the loss of Scott Hutchison are bone-chilling combined with Dave’s strong vocals was a kind of rawness we rarely see at shows these days. So hats off to you, Dave Hause.
Picking us right back up with a stellar encore consisting of one of our favorite ever love songs Fireflies, the upbeat With You with a line that will never be epic (I want the next thirty minutes to feel like a f*cking crime), and finally finishing off the night with the party that is The Ditch.