Dan Owen at Omeara
With his distinctive husky voice and stellar instrumental ability, Dan Owen is a musical force to be reckoned with. His combination of hard-hitting rocky ballads and bluesy upbeat numbers is one that routinely dazzles his audience, whether in a pub, on a festival stage, or at a charming intimate venue like the Omeara. His London show was the final night of his latest European tour, and whilst it had packs of charisma and soulfully expressive performances, it also left the crowd wanting more.
Kicking things off with Parachute, the setlist sat on the mellow side of his repertoire so it felt like Owen’s signature energy didn’t quite pick up until later on. However, it meant that the audience got to enjoy stunning and thoughtful tracks like Moonlight, What Is a Man and brand new The Hand That You Hold with their full, hushed attention. Accompanied by another musician after years of solo gigs, the result was both beautiful harmonies, and experiencing the artist’s musical evolution and sound-crafting ahead of his debut album release. The greatest payoff of this collaboration was Made to Love You, utilising the keyboard to add another layer of emotion to a vulnerable song about domestic violence. Owen’s powerful vocals were unmatched here, expertly knowing when to hold back and let go with his falsetto.
However, the performance really came alive when the bonus instruments came into play. As soon as he picked up his harmonica for Fall Like a Feather, the crowd were audibly buzzing in anticipation. When I Die, which was assuredly “happier than it sounds”, featured an impressive guitar solo and fantastic audience clapping “with no rules”, reminiscent of a country barn dance.
In between the emotional songs, the singer oozed natural charm and his honesty extended to refreshing stage talk: making plans at the pub (where else?) and admitting that he has no idea why “musicians do that walking off thing”. Returning to the stage, however, he saved the best for last with an acoustic version of new single Hideaway and one of the best finales ever performed. Famed for his animated cover of Little Red Rooster with a harmonica, guitar and stompbox, it’s always a fitting finale; Owen’s masterful instrument multitasking had more acceleration and energy than a high-octane car chase. He told the audience and their foot-stomping to “start off easy then I’ll give you a race”. And what an exhilarating ride it was.
Photos: Miguel de Melo
For further information and future events visit the Dan Owen website here.
Watch the video for Hideaway here: