Before Davis, Away with the Stone opened the night. Made up of Adam Pearce '07, Kurt Prond '05, Stacy Griffin '07 and Kyle Larson '07, Away with the Stone was entertaining, but rarely provocative.
Their brand of Christian-flavored alternative had a hint of '70s rock and all the repetition of slow-moving worship tempos. While the overall sound of Away with the Stone strongly parallels that of Jars of Clay, especially Pearces timbre, which evokes front man Dan Haseltine in "Love Song for a Savior," they failed to grasp the stylistic experimentation of the successful '90s rock band.
Their melodies lingered on the edge of monotony, but the group was able to grab the audience back with musical ability. Prond played a warbling, otherworldly electric guitar. Pearce complimented fittingly on acoustic. Griffin rocked her base guitar and provided a smooth alto back-up vocal. Larson held down a steady and rhythmic back beat on drums.
Of their six song set, the opening song "Your Holy Name" stood out for its risk-taking richness. The performance featured an eerie display of wailing vocals and psychedelic electric guitar by Prond.
Despite minor technical difficulties at the beginning, the group was happy with their performance, which engaged lively crowd participation with the call and response piece All that I can do.
"It was our best show so far," Prond said.
Davis traipsed onto the stage immediately following Away with the Stones exit. With a few nonchalant words and a sheepish, childlike smile, he opened with "Grace." This catchy melody recalled such pop/soul predecessors as Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, but displayed a power rock chorus showcasing Davis true claim to fame: his voice.
The backbone of Davis performance was the showcasing of his soulful vocal range, with complexities and variability that could breathe life into even the dullest of melodies. He had a killer Prince-esque falsetto, yet also the ability to hit the Barry White low notes.
Back to Sleep showcased the powerful Gospel influences that shaped Davis unique tone during childhood. His newly written sea creature song highlighted his rich intonation and his facetious use of word plays that slyly proclaimed his spiritual need for salvation. The audience even was privy to his oral ability via a modified rendition of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."
Despite his colorful vocals taking center stage, Davis interpretive dance moves were not to be overlooked. The man shimmied and popped and robot-ed all over the stage, and the hundreds of female eyes never left his corporal instrument. Sarah Robison '07 said, "His dancing was amazing."
Becca Wheeler '07 also addressed the multi-dimensional appeal of the singer: "He's Michael Jackson, gospel, folk, blues, Latin and rock, all in one gorgeous package."
After the show, Davis eagerly greeted the fans that added spunk to his powerful performance. Davis said of the show, "My voice was a little tired, but the people were giving me a lot back."
For tracks, concert dates and more information on both bands, visit www.myspace.com/awaywiththestone and www.myspace.com/trevordavis.