Dave Hause is a name you mention in punk rock circles and the less educated and newcomers assume he’s the front man of a legendary punk band. Bad Religion? No, that’s not it. Pennywise? Nope. Maybe Hot Water Music? Nah.
That’s the respect that the singer-songwriter has gathered in the legitimate punk and hardcore scene. A reputation that could only be matched by one of the big bands preceding his arrival all over the world. Best friend to most of those who could be featured on the Mount Rushmore of punk, Dave plays a folk punk that draws on Springsteen, Petty, and Dylan but with a punk edge that can’t be faked. First time listeners would be forgiven for using chronologically incorrect metaphors like “am American Frank Turner”. Dave did it first, and tonight he’s doing it at St Luke’s.
The first thing you get when you walk into the venue (which graciously opened doors early to let punters in out of the rain) is atmosphere. The show has what every hardcore and punk show should have… 100% seating. It’s actually lovely though. The church is laid out like a wedding is about to happen and there’s acoustic tracks playing at such an appropriate level, I don’t feel the need to put my ear plugs in. The stage is covered in numerous beautiful-looking guitars. The fans aren’t shouting over each other. It’s warm and it’s intimate. Some candles would have been lovely.
At my age, having a seat at a show isn’t a bad thing either!
Opener Will Hoge comes on to a welcoming crowd. Will hails from Tennessee and he sounds like it. He gives us heart-wrenching stories to stunning sounding acoustic instruments – and there were a lot of them. Switching between guitars, pianos, harmonicas… it’s clear that this man was meant to be – not a performer – but a storyteller. One story was about how his major label asked him to write a song for a high school girl to sing. Eventually he knocked the offer back citing “with a name like Taylor Swift, she was never going to make it. Anyways, I came here in a van tonight…” Will’s voice is dripping in stereotypical Tennessee drawl for some songs, but is smooth yet powerful. Normally he plays with a noisy band, but he acknowledges that tonight isn’t that vibe. The vibe he sets, however, is lovely. There’s no one in this room who isn’t glad they came at this point.
Before Dave comes on stage, it seems obvious there’s more bums than seats down stairs. The balcony is open but it’s clear these fans don’t want to be any further away from the headliner than they need to be. They’d rather stand and that makes us all feel closer.
Now I’m going to upset a lot of people with that I’m going to say, but I’m going to say it anyways. The first song brought me straight back to when I was at The National playing a sold-out Hydro last year. Soft keys, full bodied guitars, and a smooth baritone voice washing over a crowd that are absolutely thrilled to be in the same room as this live music. The National needed a room the size of The Hydro to achieve what Dave Hause has done in an abandoned church. After the first track, we get reminded that our roots firmly lie in punk. There’s still melody, harmonies, and beauty in the music. But there’s a great energy pushing it forward. At one point we have an audience sing along for ‘Gary’ with the refrain “I hope you don’t hurt anymore, I hope you don’t, I hope you don’t hurt anymore” where Dave steps back and the Glasgow crowd honestly sound like a choir.
We were promised less chit-chat so we could get as many songs crammed in before curfew as possible. We still got plenty chit-chat, though and we’re all glad we did. There’s a gentle charisma on the stage that makes you want to hear every story this man has to tell. Joining Dave on stage is his younger brother, Tim, who not only handles harmonies like a champ, but takes over singing duties for some tracks and sections. Tim’s an artist in his own right and this performance is making sure he’s winning his own fans as well as putting this show a dozen levels higher than it would be without him.
Tonight was without a doubt one of the warmest shows I’ve been to. There’s an air of family across the whole room – not just on the stage. Once the music was done, I couldn’t imagine not liking anyone who came here tonight. We’ve shared something special. Something beautiful. Something bloody lovely.
Photos by Catching Light Photography