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Brett Dennen delivers for fans at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta

It’s been several years since Brett Dennen played in Atlanta but on Friday night at a full Variety Playhouse he made up for his prolonged absence by performing material from his entire catalog for an hour and a half of material to a genuinely appreciative crowd.

Brett Dennen at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, April 10, 2014
Photography by Andrew Snook

The latest tour supports “Smoke and Mirrors”, Dennen’s most recent release that he believes recaptures and re-emphasizes some of his earliest musical influences. While he played a considerable amount from his latest release there was a perfect blend of older, better-known music mixed in. What was equally refreshing was the reliance upon the abilities of the musicians rather than the smoke and mirrors of over-production.

Backed by a four-piece band, Dennen and the band were full of energy and enthusiasm that the audience loved. From a musical standpoint and critically important was the fact that the sound was mixed perfectly as his guitar and distinctive voice were never overpowered by his band. The acoustics of the Variety Playhouse also meant that the music was crisp and clean, critically important for Dennen’s vocal style.

The set continued at a good pace with Dennen providing a great blend of faster, upbeat songs and slower ballads. For the most part Dennen focused on playing music but did briefly break to encourage people to sign up as bone marrow donors through Love Hope Strength.

Highlights of the evening included live versions of his most popular hits, “She’s Mine”, and “Darlin, Do Not Fear”. Some great music from his latest release demonstrated that Dennen’s return to earlier musical influences is paying dividends; particularly good were “Not Too Late,” “Wild Child and “When We Were Young.”

The overwhelmingly refreshing thing about Brett Dennen’s music is the sincerity with which it’s presented. There is no “going through the motions” and that perspective rubs off on the audience.

For example, the first two songs of his encore were just him and his acoustic guitar and, as he sang “Desert Sunrise” and “Don’t Mess with Karma”, the audience were completely silent, aware of the fact that, the appeal of his music is in its soft and subtle delivery.

It’s great to be able to listen music without having to do so while people around you are shouting to each other, over the music, about anything and everything except the music they paid to listen to!

The final encore brought the rest of the band back on stage for a wonderful version of “Blessed.”

It was a great evening and the Variety Playhouse was a perfect venue for Brett Dennen’s live music.

Jeremy Messersmith was the perfect opening act for Brett Dennen. Messersmith played a set of about forty minutes accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. His “unplugged” set was refreshingly clean and showcased the full range of his voice and lyrical ability. Singing a large selection of material from his recent release “Heart Murmurs” he demonstrated why he is considered to be one of the brightest musical artists of 2014.

Fans of Brett Dennen will not have to wait another six years to see him again in Atlanta as he is scheduled to appear at the Masquerade Music Park in August this year.

Set List

Sweet Persuasion
Surprise Surprise
Little Cosmic Girl
Out of My Head
She’s Mine
Darlin’ Do Not Fear
Not Too Late
Who Am I
Dancing At a Funeral
San Francisco Girl
Must Be Losing My Mind
Make You Crazy
Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)
Who Do You Think You Are
Song For Solo Leaving
Wild Child
Sydney (I’ll Come Running)
Ain’t No Reason
When We Were Young

Desert Sunrise
Don’t Mess With Karma


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