Dan Bern

I went with Ben to go see Dan Bern on Friday night up at Cap College. I’d seen Dan Bern once before, out east, I think about 4 years ago now, where it was him and a guitar playing C’est What, if I recalll correctly. This time, it was him and a band – the band is called ‘The International Jewish Banking Conspiracy’, which is kinda fun. Seeing him with a band made me feel a little like I was watching Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band – Dan Bern has that sorta blue-collar look and sneering/snarling voice like Bruce, and with the band, he rocks out in a folksy kind of way. And of course, with the Band, he played ‘the hits’. Of course, I wouldn’t know a Dan Bern hit from Adam, but the crowd sure did. And I found even I knew a couple of the songs, and was able to sing along when requested, which was fairly often. One thing I’ll say for Dan Bern – he can work an audience like no one else I’ve ever seen. Though come to think of it, Rob Wilson, who mines a similar artistic vein, is also excellent with crowds. I suppose that if you’re singing pointed, humorous songs, you need the engagement of the audience for it both to go over – hearing lyrics like:

Yes, I think you heard me right

I am the Messiah

I was gonna wait till next year

Build up the suspense a little

Make it a really big surprise

But I could not resist

It’s like when you got a really big secret

You’re just bursting to tell someone

It was kinda like that with this

And now that I’ve told you

I feel this great weight lifted

Dr. Nusbaum was right

He’s my therapist

He said get it out in the open

means that you and the audience have to be on the same page, or you’d end up offending some and leaving others simply going ‘uh, what?’.