Daniel Wesley put on an amazing show at the Commodore Saturday night; recording what will be a definite must-have album for his fans. It was a great night of local musical talent, including Daniel’s long time friend and fellow Langley-boy Jeremy Allingham opening up. I confess that I hadn’t heard Allingham before, but I liked what I heard. He’s got a raw, simple vocal sound that feels rural, but not country. There’s a folk sound, but also some definite rock roots coming through. He plays and sings with heart and a “good Canadian kid” feel – he’s endearing and you can’t help but like him. He was genuinely glad to be there and opening for his friend. If you like local folk (or folk-al music) or straight ahead Canadian rock, check out his latest album – Memory Electric.
Daniel Wesley and his band arrived on stage to a raucous, vibrating crowd – said crowd were not disappointed. The acoustic portion of the show was an hour long and anything but slow or mellow, feelings often associated with “acoustic performances”. It was a fantastic set, showing Wesley his popularity with his hometown fans, in case he had any doubts. The crowd was singing along joyfully to most of the songs with standouts including Nyquil, Layde Maybe and personal favourite Driftin’ during which the entire room sang for about a minute without Wesley’s help. It was amazing and I think Wesley and the boys knew it, too, as they played along with big grins pasted to their faces.
The grin on Daniel Wesley’s face didn’t leave for most of the night, either. He seemed genuine, and genuinely flattered to be there. He was humble and self-effacing; joking and thankful; hard working and hard partying. The band took a short intermission and came back out for the “party set” as he called it. I was expecting maybe a solid hour and would have been happy with it. Instead, they came out and kicked the sweaty, tired crowd into a frenzied, yet somehow relaxed mob of enchanted Vancouverites until the bar closed – almost 2 hours. Every song is danceable and most of the crowd was all in. There were many times when people around me looked ready to drop from exhaustion – until the next song started, that is. Then suddenly they’d find energy reserves and rev back up again – as the song says “We can sing and dance all night.” I really don’t know where Wesley and his band found the energy – they’re like world class athletes.
There were many original moments in the night, as well, including special guests like past band members playing and Jeremy Allingham doing a duet with Wesley on an old song from a past band of theirs. Wesley also performed a medley of his best like a champ, despite his falsely modest claims that a medley was “above his skill level”. Hardly. He may not be the most talented guitarist or even singer, but his ability to write a catchy song that connects with his fans is unmatched. And to put four songs together into a dynamite medley? Fantastic! Other standouts of the second set were the extended version of Ooh Ohh and the finale Drunk and Stoned. Ooh Ohh, yes they were, Daniel, yes they were.
I felt very lucky to be there on Saturday, as I was just happy to be going to a Daniel Wesley show, let alone a recording for an upcoming live album. This ensured that it was great sound, excellent energy by both artist and crowd and an unparalleled set list. The Commodore was (as usual) a spectacular live venue where rabid fans and newbies alike had to be impressed. Local music has never sounded better and when the album comes out I highly recommend picking it up. If it sounds half as good as being there live, you’re in for a real musical treat.
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written by Chris van Staalduinen