In town to celebrate the 20th anniversary release of their debut, Puzzle, Dada was welcomed by a full house, cheering them back to Dante’s. First tune of the night from Puzzle was the crowd favorite, Posters. Lead by Phil Leavitt’s jazz-styled drum solo intro, then joined by guitar solo intro from Mike Gurley, the song stops abruptly before Gurley breaks into verse “She was 17 going on 50”, before moving into Dim, the next gem from Puzzle..
Switching gears, the band played the lone song, Guitar Girl, from one of their strongest albums, How To Be Found. Released twelve years after their debut, the track displayed of the same crafted rock they started with Puzzle, covering trademark Dada territory of insightful story telling and classic vocal harmonies.
Sounding fresh and energetic through their 90-minute set, they jumped into overdrive, jamming through I Get High, Who You Are, and Spinning My Wheels. Gurley thanked the crowd for coming out to celebrate before rocking right back into raucous version of S.F. Bar ’63. The guys aired things out a little with an extended jam of the title track of American Highway Flower, with Gurley weaving guitar licks from the theme song of Secret Agent Man and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
But the highlight of the evening, true to Gurley’s interview promise of weird live covers, was an folksy acoustic guitar intro by Calio that bled into a psychedelic bluesy swamp rendition of 60s tune masters Bobby Hart & Tommy Boyce’s, Last Train To Clarksville, made popular by The Monkees. And while they had the crowd in the mood, the 60s trip continued with a flowery version of The Mommas & Poppas’ California Dreamin’.
The next treat was the tongue-in-cheek political jab, and title track, from their last release, the 5-song 2006 EP, a friend of Pat Robertson, before closing the set with the song that put them on the map, Dizz Knee Land.
Dada did come back for one more as they capped the night off with one last tune from Puzzle, Dorina. With Calio leading the energetic finale, backed by stellar vocals harmonies of Gurley & Leavitt, the band was happily exhausted from great night of music.
Calio & Leavitt opened the evening with a 35-minute set of tunes from their side project, 7Horse, playing a slew of gritty, blues rock, before shifting effortlessly into the polished groove of Dada tunes.