This month marks year 10 of my appreciation of Stuart Davis. I first saw him perform in a coffee shop in Morris, MN.
I went to college in Morris, but had graduated a few years before this, but was returning with my theatre company, Hoineroinken Productions, to perform for what turned out to be an empty theater. I was tired and more than a little burnt out after writing the script for the show, going through a few months of rehearsals, and making the 2 or 3 hour journey to do this road performance. But the night before our show, I caught Stu’s act with my friend Sarah.
And when the man stepped past me and up onto the little stage a few feet away and strummed the first chord on the beat up acoustic guitar, I remember being just electrified. The creative energy that this guy was blasting out rolled over me. Everything went away, and I just felt that thing that you feel when you experience something really and truly awesome.
I’ve seen performers solo on stage and I’ve seen acoustic sets before, but none of them had the stage presence and the power that this guy has.
He’s gone off the deep end a little recently, and I’ve not enjoyed his recent work, which is unfortunate. He’s also gone multi-media, which makes sense. He’s still making music, but he’s producing and starring in an internet TV show, and he’s writing screenplays and books as well.
Here’s a clip from a 2001 live show at the Fine Line in Minneapolis. I was in the audience that night, and I remember the performance pretty clearly.
If you like this song, I strongly recommend you pick up his 16 Nudes live album. It comes the closest to capturing the power of that first show that I saw 10 years ago.
“Bright Apocalypse” (my favorite of his studio albums)