Shows can be a super personal thing for me. There are certain acts that I refuse to take anyone with me to see just because I need that, sorry to be dramatic, religious experience. Dave Hause is one of those acts. There’s something about him that has always just spoken to me. From his music to his overall existence… there’s just something to him that really speaks to me and seeing him live is always something I look forward to and thoroughly enjoy experiencing alone. All of that being said, my life has taken some turns lately and I have found myself with a boyfriend that also enjoys live music. When his plans for the weekend fell through, I figured it was only the right thing to invite him to come experience the magic that is Dave Hause and the Mermaid with me but was it going to ruin the experience?
Kicking the late Saturday night show off was local musician James Eugene Russell. I was only familiar with James’ work in the local punk band Cadillac Blindside so I was a bit confused as he took the stage with just a guitar slung from his shoulder but I warmed up to the idea of him as an acoustic act quickly. Full of heart and passion, James’ set hit me right in the feels. Although a bit more somber than I had hoped for for my Saturday night, there was no denying the power that came with his soft and sweet tracks full of painfully real lyrics. Even though overall the set was subdued, there were moments throughout the thirty-minute set where I had flashbacks to seeing him perform in Cadillac Blindside. It just goes to prove, you can take the musician out of punk but can’t take the punk out of a musician. As mentioned, I didn’t know that James had an acoustic thing happening but I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for another show from him.
Speaking of taking the musician out of punk but not being able to take the punk out of the musician- Dave Hause is a legend. Okay, maybe he’s not a household name but having been part of bands like The Loved Ones and The Falcon, in my world, Dave is absolutely a legend, and seeing him perform both solo and with his amazing band The Mermaid has been such an honor over the years with Saturday night being no exception. The crowd had filled out nicely as James Eugene Russell played through his set and was pretty full considering all of the other amazing shows going on in town by the time Dave took the stage. There was a sense of pure excitement and elation as the band took the stage and a roar of applause and cheering as the one and only Dave Hause entered the stage. Honestly, from there on, the night was a bit of a blur but I’ll do my best to not fangirl over every song the band performed and keep this review short and sweet.
Every song that the band played hit right to the core. Whether it was an old track dating back to his self-titled album that came out in 2011 or even the brand new track “Hazard Lights” which has yet to be released, every song was perfectly placed throughout their two-hour performance consisting of over twenty songs. Obviously, a huge highlight was when the band broke into a cover of Dillinger Four’s “Doublewhiskeycokenoice” and, even though the members of Dillinger Four weren’t in attendance (Paddy had apologized via text just a bit before the show saying that he was too swamped at the bar to make it to the show), they surely would have been beyond proud. Even though the band didn’t play “Dirty Fucker” as many in the audience continuously shouted for towards the end of the lengthy set, I feel like everyone left the show completely satisfied with the tracks they did get.
There’s a strong connection between Dave Hause and Minneapolis. I don’t honestly know how deep the history goes there but with many references throughout his set to how amazing Minneapolis is and how in love he is with this city and the music that comes from it, it felt like a truly special night for both the audience members and the musicians. Having never seen Dave Hause anywhere other than the Twin Cities, I don’t know if he says that about everywhere but I can tell you that something just felt so real and genuine every time he thanked the crowd. He even acknowledged that we could have been anywhere on Saturday night. Guided By Voices down the street at The Fine Line, The Tallest Man on Earth (which Dave joked and said he clearly is not because, well, he’s a fairly short guy) across town at The Palace– the fact that everyone in the 7th Street Entry on Saturday night had made the conscious decision to go to that show over everything else was not lost on Dave or the rest of his band.
Okay, back to what I mentioned in the intro to this post– I’ve always kind of been the lone wolf kind. I know that sounds dramatic but it’s true and it’s always been more than fine with me. I thoroughly enjoy going to shows alone because you can do whatever you want. If you don’t like a band, you can leave, if you’re loving a band, you can dance like a fool– no judgment. Dave Hause shows have always hit me in a very emotional way and I was afraid that bringing my boyfriend into that side of my world may ruin it but it didn’t. I was still able to feel all of the emotions that I always feel when witnessing Dave Hause live. I don’t know if it’s because this guy I’m seeing is pretty perfect for me and respects my whole “shows are what keep me alive” thing or if it’s because of the sheer power that Dave has. Regardless, being able to share the magic that is Dave Hause & The Mermaid with the boyfriend who had never heard of Dave Hause, The Falcon, The Loved Ones or anything else like that was truly just the icing on the cake for my Saturday night.