Fresh off a tour with the recently reunited Moist and looking forward to a stint in the studio with the band to finish up their first album since 1999, David Usher played what may be his last solo show for some time to a packed audience at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Friday.
A familiar favourite, Ottawa can usually count on at least one show a year from David Usher, if past records are any indication. Like other shows at Shenkman, the audience was a surprising but fun demographic mix, and I imagine that in addition to those of us who are long time fans, there were a few people there who experienced his music for the first time.
Regardless of where you fall on the David Usher fandom continuum, seeing the man performing live is always a good time. He knows how to treat an audience, interacting with his fans in a humourous, close up and personal way. There aren’t many other shows were you can expect the artist to sit down in the seat next to you and let you help sing, or pause patiently while you snap a picture with him. He even offered to speak in both English and French in a nod to the bilingualism of the city.
At the end of the day, though, we’re all there for the music and Usher definitely did not disappoint. Playing almost a full two hour set, the crowd was warmed up with songs like “Message Home” and “Some People Say” before breaking into the fan favourite “The Music” with it’s wonderful beats and beautiful lyrics. The energy from the stage was infectious, and the crowd picked-up David’s enthusiasm. It wasn’t long before a few of the audience members were dancing in the aisles.
While Usher did treat fans to a few old Moist songs like “Push” and “Silver”, as expected the majority of the songs played were hits from his seven solo albums. Ranging from classic favourites like “Black, Black Heart” and “Forestfire” to “See the Stars” from the most recent album Songs From the Last Day on Earth, every song was a hit, both masterfully sung and accompanied by excellent work on keyboards, drums and particularly guitar.
Those of us lucky enough to be at Shenkman to see what has been deemed to be one of the last two solo shows can only hope that he returns later in the year with Moist, but his solo act will still be highly missed. Whenever he gets back to it, his fans will certainly be waiting. But for now David Usher will be looking back in order to move forward.
Despite her day job as a bureaucrat, A. Laramey is a writer who spends far too much time on the internet. You can find her on Facebook.