When it comes to engaging an audience, there are few artists as naturally charming and likable as Dave Barnes. The singer brought his impressive catalog, endearing wit and a legion of loyal fans to New York City’s Gramercy Theater on Saturday night for a show full of laughter, singalongs and solid musicianship.
Barnes is currently touring in support of his Laurel-Canyon inspired Carry On, San Vincente, his 12th studio album. Throughout the show, he weaved his way through fan favorites, deep cuts and new music, occasionally mashing the songs into medleys or offering new arrangements. In-between songs, Barnes endeared the crowd with chatter unlike any other. As much as he shines as a singer, songwriter and musician, he excels at his banter. Over the course of his 90-minute set, he had the crowd roaring with his self-effacing sense of humor, jokes about his lack of focus and stories of awkward church lady encounters. If his career as a musician ended tomorrow, he could easily become a full-time comedian.
All joking aside, however, Dave Barnes is an incredible vocalist, backed by a group of equally talented musicians. Barnes and his four-piece band rocked the Gramercy Theater on songs like the Eagles-inspired “She’s the One I Love,” the singalong tracks “Until You” and “Little Lies” and the funky jam of “All That Noise.” Not to be forgotten was “God Gave Me You,” a song made famous by Blake Shelton, but written and originally performed (arguably better) by Barnes.
In addition to full band moments, the highlight of the set came during an acoustic medley. Lit with a spotlight and armed with only an acoustic guitar, Barnes voice powered New York City as he poured himself into his slower classics, such as “On a Night Like This” and “Nothing Fancy.” “Headlights” and a re-arranged “Good Day for Marrying You” were also stand out moments of the show.
Opening for Dave Barnes was the exceptional Lucie Silvas, whom we called a musical unicorn on Twitter. Joined by a lone guitarist, Silvas alternated between the mandolin and piano, captivating the audience from her very first to her very last note. Highlights of her set included “Smoke” and “Letters to Ghosts” off of her incredible album of the same name, as well as her gut-wrenching, heart-piercing piano cover of Roy Orbison’s classic, “You Got It.” If you’re not yet familiar with Lucie Silvas, look her up and thank us later.
Dave Barnes will bring his show, and Lucie Silvas, to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on July 23, and we can basically guarantee you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a song in your head. Trust me, it’s one not to be missed.