With a crowd full of anticipation to hear once again the vocals of Dan Owen with his twenty-first-century mix of singer-songwriter angst, blues and ‘modern man with a guitar’ sound. Before the main act of the night, the evening opened with a singer-songwriter behind the keyboards as Billy Lockett hit the stage. Billy set the scene for Dan with a set that may not have been exciting but was a solid start to the evening. The set was full of romantic originals and into this indie mix, he covered Nirvana, definitely not Kurt Cobain but an interesting choice. Closing the short set the Northampton-born Billy Lockett with his easy smile finished off with Burn It Down. The number that got him noticed when included on Made in Chelsea. Billy also has a full band which would pep up the numbers I am sure.
Short break and Dan stepped onto the stage in The Lantern, Colston Hall. Dan Owen has been touring and shaping his craft. The bluesman who captures the tones of the seventies all packaged in an Indie delight. This is solo music that hits the mark with all ages especially the young who connect with the angst, his tales and manner that connects with the audience. His voice has always demanded attention and he got it. Tonight as a duet his music was up close and very personal. Dan has certainly ‘come of age’ since I saw him last. As he opened with Parachute we knew we were in the assured vocal glow of Dan. The voice now has real controlled power, with a clarity of tone and delivery of lyrics. We flew with Dan close to the sun as he played Icarus. Wow!! Joining Dan on stage tonight was Lewis Cooper on Keys which provided an extra depth of tone and great backing vocals. Dan’s latest E.P. Open Hands and Enemies is a snippet of his talent and a full album is long overdue. From the E.P. he played What Is A Man and Moonlight, a slow burner that lights the auditorium. The tone changed with Splinter as Lewis swapped keys for electric guitar with a twang of Country-meets-Americana and curls into British Indie. With that Lewis left the stage for a couple of solo numbers from the past as Dan, his guitar and harmonica collided with Bob Dylan, Cohen and the seventies with a swirl of blues with the added power of the stompbox. No longer a biscuit tin with wires, now neat smart and full of drumming power. We were treated to a beautiful new song Hand That You Hold as he explored emotions with skill and empathy. Lewis returned to the stage and the set continued. What was noticeable the songs all had short intros the hallmark of songs today. Made To Love You, written about a friend who he had a drink with to make a plan about his relationship. The song Made to Love You was written about domestic abuse experienced at the hands of a woman his friend had experienced while still loving her.
Dan Owen left the stage and quickly returned with guitar and harp with a rousing rendition of Willie Dixon’s Little Red Rooster. Lifting the energy and ambience of the venue. Blues just suits Dan’s vocals.
The Lantern Bristol Shines on Dan Owen’s Vocals, the set was accomplished. But just far too short, I was left wanting to hear more, get to know the musician. So with that, the stage darkened and it was an early night as we left Colston Hall.