If you haven’t heard of Daniel Wesley before now, let me assure you that you’re missing out.
Wesley recently performed at the Commodore Ballroom in an anniversary event to mark his 10 years in the music business. In that time he’s released seven albums, and toured with Matthew Good across Canada in 2011. The Commodore show doubled as a live recording, and featured both an acoustic warm-up set and a rockin’ plugged-in performance that went into the wee hours of the morning. It was one large, crazy, and fun party — shame if you missed it.
Wesley’s childhood friend, Jeremy Allingham, opened the floor for the new father of two. Allingham’s whiskey-soaked voice perfectly complemented his easy-to-listen-to rock. Toe-tapping beats, coupled with an almost oldies-like vibe took Allingham’s walking basslines and confident voice to a whole other level. His big sound — consisting of two guitars, a bass, drums, and keys — was a great choice to kick off Wesley’s celebratory performance.
White Rock native Daniel Wesley delivered hit after hit, the crowd never ceasing to treat every track as a campfire singalong. The only exception was a new “little ditty” the songwriter had crafted specially for the show. Wesley’s laidback, beachside alternative rock — with a hint of reggae and ska — is excellent summer music to chill to. The Commodore’s speakers had the bass drum beating deep in my chest long after I’d left the Ballroom and navigated through the drunken Granville throng.
His vocals never wavered, but the true power behind his voice was elusive through the majority of his two sets. The times where he had to dig deep for his lower notes were the best, and his falsetto was flawless. Wesley’s songs have sultry basslines and lyrics that are built for audience repetition, like “Ooo Ohh” from Sing + Dance, which features multiple spots for ooh-ing. During “You Ain’t Shit” from Outlaw, which is all about weed, the haze was strong over the crowd. The audience was at their loudest while yelling, “You ain’t shit unless you and me are together.”
The intent of the show was pure fun — no better shown than in his rendition of Ginuwine’s “Pony.” Despite not having any guys taking off their shirts, the crowd got rowdy and dancing anyway. The crowd followed Wesley’s lead and didn’t stop, even for a minute. Grooving to the music, waving hands to the beat, the audience engagement was top-notch.
There are some people who are great performers. They’re the acts you go to where you don’t really like their music, or you aren’t sure; but you come out of that venue sweaty and exhilarated, just because they are such excellent show people. Daniel Wesley is one such act, and you don’t want to miss him.
To tide you over, his latest album, I am Your Man was released in 2015. So far his next show is in Port Alberni, June 17 at Blue Marlin.