Dave Bazan - A Living Room in Denton - 2/25/12

Dave Bazan Saturday, February 25

In case you forgot how cool the town of Denton is, Saturday night, Denton city councilman Kevin Roden hosted an intimate evening with Dave Bazan at his home on Texas Street, right across from TWU.

"[Bazan's] management team put out the call that they were doing this series of living room tours," Roden explained, "and they tell you the cities they're going to and basically say, 'Anyone out there want to host a show?'"

Prior to the show, most of the guests enjoyed pizza generously provided by Robert Slusarski, otherwise known as "Ski," co-owner of Denton landmark Tomato Pizza, now 10 miles north in Sanger. Bazan emerged from the back room of the house around 8 p.m. and, after changing the strings on his red Korean Epiphone and tuning up, he started strumming the chords to "Wolves at the Door." The house, which held roughly 60 people, assumed a serious silence, and the guttural projection of his voice filled the room with the autobiographical lamentations and observations of a talented, conflicted, complicated individual.

Bazan doesn't shy away from being honest; he speaks candidly and frankly about whatever subjects enter his head, and asked the audience if they had any questions for him. About anything.

As is his custom, he started waxing intellectual after the second song, his first topic being the city of Denton: "It's a scary town for me, because every time I come here I end up getting really fucked up," he said. "I respect this town the way you respect a loaded gun." He then proceeded to make several rape jokes, play "Virginia," a heartbreaking tribute to his friend who passed away, and made sure to remind us that he in no way condones rape. At certain points, it was hard to make the distinction between an indie rock icon and grizzled observational comic.

About 45 minutes into his 70-minute set, he talked about Overseas, his newest project with Will Johnson of Centro-matic and Matt and Bubba Kadane of Dallas' Bedhead. Bazan still has to record the vocals for one song on their forthcoming album, but is highly excited for the project, especially since early in his career, he says he heavily ripped off Bedhead, and sees this as an opportunity to pay back the loan.

Throughout the evening, his struggles with losing faith in Christianity were a recurring theme, and one that generated several questions from the audience, particularly about the deeply religious songs he no longer plays from his early days with Pedro the Lion. It's apparent he's an artist who deals with the natural progression and flux of the human psyche without fear of the requisite emotional and psychological turmoil that accompanies such struggles.

After his last song, "Strange Negotiations," the title track of his latest album, he lingered in the stage space, talking to fans and taking pictures with them, not a hint of impatience on his face as he smiled for each new camera.

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