Yesterday brought a pleasant surprise- I attended the sold out David Bazan house show that happened to be less than two miles from my house. I was unable to buy tickets before they sold out, but Bob, David’s manager was gracious and let me come to the show after I e-mailed him to see if there were any available seats.
When I arrived, there were approximately 10 people there, which eventually grew and topped out around 30-40 people. I had never been to a house show, so watching David with such a small amount of people created a whole new dynamic and atmosphere I’ve never experienced.
Mr. Bazan showed up about 15 minutes late, which was more funny than frustrating, because how could you be annoyed when you get to see David Bazan play with only 30 other people surrounding you? The lovely thing about house shows is that everyone is in it together in a sense, no one needs to push to the front to be near the stage, everyone knows they will be experiencing something special.
David walked up with one guitar, sat down on his wooden stool, front and center of the host’s living room and started the night off with a tune (because of the intimacy of the show, I didn’t take many notes…therefore didn’t keep much track of what songs he played). From his first word, his voice blew me away. The man can belt it out- he possesses so much power and projection in his voice…which took me by surprise because that power just doesn’t translate onto the albums as much. Every few songs, David took a 5-10 minute break to answer questions from his audience. The night was about 60% music and 40% chatting, which I believe was just fine with everyone in attendance. Hearing the thoughts, opinions, and stories behind the music and musician is something most people don’t ever have the chance to hear firsthand, which is another reason the house show is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Throughout his hour and half set, David chatted about many topics people asked him about; what David was reading and listening to, who has inspired him the most musically (which happens to be The Beatles), and how be believes “Spotify is just the devil”.
In the midst of one of the mini question and answer sessions, David said something along the lines of “Choice is a bummer…it’s what ruins all of us…”. It seems that in most of Pedro the Lion’s albums, and now David’s solo albums, he’s always questioning, doubting, or addressing some universal life issue. It’s been interesting to see his transformation from identifying as a Christian for so long, then as time has gone on, for him realizing Christianity is not the path he wants to follow. In an interview from Christianity Today from 2010, David talks about his change of heart towards the Christian faith, and seeing him live made me understand him a bit more. When you see him in person honestly singing out his struggles from years past and even joking about his own ongoing inability to pinpoint how to live life in the best way possible, it just solidifies and reminds us that it’s okay that none of us really know what we’re doing… even when we think we do.
That’s what I appreciate about David’s music and story. He’s just putting his thoughts out into song, and you can take them or leave them, accept them or reject them, but it’s difficult not to relate to them in some way. He said he doesn’t like choice, and because of this, his music doesn’t force you into one choice or the other, it allows you to process and hopefully come to a conclusion (or not) on your own.