One of my favourite gigs of all time was seeing The Gaslight Anthem at the excellent Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver around seven years ago. A then relatively unknown English guy opened proceedings, and was then giving away badges and other memorabilia at the back of the dancefloor. Me and my Scottish mate introduced ourselves, told him we enjoyed his set and asked him if he fancied a drink with two fellow Brits. He said yes, and his name was Frank Turner.
Frank and I were joined at the bar for what I seem to remember was shots of Tequila that night by his fellow support act The Loved Ones. The Philadelphia-based band swiftly became one of my favourite bands and their awesome track Massive – check it out in the video below – remains to this day one of my favourite ever songs. Their lead singer Dave Hause has now gone on to his own solo career, retaining the iconic rocky voice that I loved in The Loved Ones in his own music.
Hause has just launched his new album Bury Me In Philly, and it’s pretty awesome. It kicks off with the excellent With You, which kicks off with his vocals supported just by clean guitar chords then the full band kicking in behind him. He launches into the chorus with a big cry and catchy lyrics “I wanna do it with you” with little piano licks, followed by a cool little guitar solo that feeds into the second verse. It continues to get better with Hause’s catchy, infectious vocals continually just begging you to sing along with him. It’s a great way to start off an album.
Next up The Flinch continues in the same style, singalong lyrics and a cool guitar lick with driving drums throughout. My Mistake opens up sounding similar to Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell with the piano intro but soon bursts into Hause’s trademark vocals, with some funky guitar riffs in the background.
The Mermaid takes a bit more of a country influence, but is a great little track that opens up with a bit of harmonica and some funky guitar chords. There’s a laid-back chorus that features drawn-out chords and a funky post-chorus with excellent snarly vocals throughout.
The pace is picked up again with the brilliantly named Shaky Jesus, which opens with Hause’s vocals supported by short guitar chords then launches into a funky guitar riff as Hause continues to tell his tale. The chorus is excellent, with the infectious lyrics “If Jesus loves me, can he save my little sermon somehow, because I’ve found a little promised land, and I’m reaching out to take her hand and drown, if Jesus loves me now.”
Talking of great song names brings us to Dirty Fucker, which opens with a funky little riff and mini-guitar solo. There’s more than a little AC/DC sound to this track, with a really fun chorus that sees Hause spitting out the words “always some dirty fucker” with intense angst. The chorus sees some of the most fun lyrics I’ve seen in a while, which I guarantee you’re going to love singing along to: “It’s always some dirty fucker, Always some corner cutting son of a bitch, Who’s trying to rip it off, trying to slag it down, It’s always, always some dirty fucker, Some dirty weasel motherfucker.”
Hause’s flexibility as a songwriter is shown off by a fusion of The Gaslight Anthem meets Bruce Springsteen in the form of Helluva Home. Yet again the lyrics are wonderfully catchy and you’re going to struggle not to sing along to the repeated “it’s a helluva home.” A late key change gives this feel-good song a twist and ends on a real high.
Penultimate track Wild Love is slower but equally enjoyable, with great lyrics like “I don’t need love I need fun for an hour” preceding a few repetitions of “wild love” as Hause displays his folkier roots with more harmonica and acoustic guitar supporting his vocals. The album ends with a bang with title track Bury Me In Philly. There’s big choruses, big driving drums, a funky guitar solo and great lyrics aplenty in ode to Hause’s Philadelphian roots.
Hause has a stunning ability to write great songs that just make you want to sing along with him, and I can’t help but love the raspy rock voice that I first discovered at that gig in Vancouver. Throw in some fun rocky support with folky undertones, and this makes one singer/songwriter that will never fail to keep you on your toes.
If you don’t want to take my word for how good this is, then how about some of rock’s most influential voices? The aforementioned Turner said of Hause: “I’ve been sharing stages and singing with Dave Hause for 8 years now and he’s still teaching me things I didn’t know. A true diamond in the punk rock rough.”
While Tim McIlrath, lead singer of another of my favourite bands Rise Against, said: “To play music is not just about one record or one show, it’s about whether you have the grit to keep going. I’ve played music long enough now to recognise the lifers and the tourists. Seeing the energy in which Dave Hause plays music, his ability to connect with a crowd, and listening to the depth of his songwriting, one realises that his name is still going to be on that marquis in your town long after the tourists are gone.”
Dave Hause begins a European tour with his band, The Mermaid, on 1 March. The tour hits the UK for eight shows, beginning at The Haunt in Brighton on 12 March, with support from Dead Heavens and Robyn G. Shiels so check out the tour dates and get yourself along to see him.