On Wednesday Kassie and I went down to the Bluebird to catch one of our favorites artists; the Gabe Dixon Band. We stumbled upon Gabe Dixon a few years ago on a preview for a new TV show, Conviction or something like that. His song, All Will Be Well was the theme-song for the first season. After finding some of his music we realized that he was a very small-time artist and really hadn't established himself yet.
Last year we went to see the Dave Barnes/Matt Wertz show in Boulder and it just happened that Gabe Dixon was the opener. He might have been the best act of the night! He plays piano and his music is like piano-rock/jazz/ben folds style that gets your toes tapping. I did more research and found out that Gabe used to play in some Christian bands and Younglife camps and had a really positive message, but had struck-out with recording companies. he just recently signed a new deal and put a new record last month, and its great!
Anyway, for the show. We had never heard of Jay Nash, and didn't know very much about Justin Nozuka. Jay Nash opened the night, a tall singer/songwriter with his electric guitar and his Danish drummer on a jazz kit with brushes. Jay grabbed our attention instantly with his voice, so controlled and powerful, almost twangy at times. His songs were simple but his sound was very full and captivating.
Most of his set was just him and a drummer, but in the middle of the set Gabe Dixon and his bass player came out to play a few full band songs. We were very impressed, tapping our toes and nodding along with the beats, but in the end Jay's voice was the most impressive part of his set. I would totally pay money to see him again.
After Jay Nash was Gabe Dixon. He played as a 3 piece, piano drums bass. He played most of his notable songs, opening with 5 More Hours, and dedicating All Will Be Well to "beautiful people of Colorado". His songs have such good driving beats and Gabe is so passionate when he plays. He has a hard timing keeping his own butt on the piano bench, standing up to sing choruses while keeping his hands going pounding out the music. All of this while drinking Northern California's finest beer Sierra Nevada Pale Ale!
After playing 5-6 songs, Gabe played And The World Turned by himself with no band. After this he announced that he had a special surprise for Denver, since he doesn't come here too often. He did a cover of Bob Marley's Is This Love? while he played a wind piano , the bassist played a guitar and the drummer played what he a "shi-tar", basically a guitar with strings attached to it and played more like a hand drum. they all gathered around a single mic and did a front-porch rendition of the Bob Marley song, it was incredible!
After that they played a few more songs, Gabe was great all night, he's not very comfortable on the mic talking to the crowd, but he almost seems effortless when he's singing and playing piano. For the closer Til You're Gone, Gabe brought out Jay Nash to play guitar, and his Danish drummer to play tambourine. I've never seen anyone play tambourine with so much joy, he just smiled the whole time, apparently loving the tambourine. What a great set by the band, be on the lookout for these guys!
5 More Hours
All Will Be Well
Further the Sky (with no Mindy Smith unfortunately)
Til Your Gone (amazing!)
Far From Home
The World Turned
Find My Way
Is This Love (Bob Marley cover)
We stuck around for a few Justin Nozuka songs, but weren't really impressed too much. Justin's singing is a little over-the-top and isn't really all that unique, his band was pretty weak compared to the previous bands, and his songs all sound somewhat the same. He opened with Down In A Cold Dirty Well which was pretty good. After that he seemed to be more show than substance so we took off, we'd seen who we wanted to see.
Here's Jay Nash from my camera: