Photos + Review: Brooks Nielsen @ Belly Up Tavern (Solana Beach, CA)
Sometimes you go to a show and you stand back while you take it all in: the lights, the stage screens, the grandeur of it all. But sometimes you are privy to a special intimate jam session that rattles your soul. Tonight was one of those rare occasions where the chemistry on stage spilled over into the audience allowing each fan to lose themselves in the magic of it all.
The Belly Up in Solana Beach is such a special venue. A small beach town gem that seemed to lend itself perfectly for Brook Nielsen’s sultry blend of melancholic surf rock, gifting the perfect backdrop for tonight’s concert.
The band might have not been together for decades, but if tonight was your first time seeing them together you wouldn’t have guessed it. They pulled off tonight’s show masterfully with each band member playing off each other, it was as if they were musically conversing with one another. They delivered a beautifully harmonious set that allowed each of them to shine throughout the night alongside Nielsen instead of simply accompany him as his supporting band.
At one point, about halfway through the set Nielsen stood back with eyes closed while each band member performed their solos. The lights turned down low while he explained, “these are my favorite moments, when the lights are dark and I get to stand back and just listen to them do their thing and I become a fan.” And so did the audience which seemed deeper enthralled as each song played.
From the continuous -not exaggerating, “I LOVE YOU BROOKS” shouted throughout the evening, to the personal messages on handheld signs, to the wide and glossy eyed fans that raised their hands as if trying to hold him even if only for a moment are testaments of the band’s amazing charisma, it’s Nielsen’s Pied Piper like persona that fans just can’t seem to get enough of.
I last saw the band back in August when they played the Observatory in North Park (You can see that review here) and in less than eight months they’ve transformed themselves. They’ve grown so much more comfortable with each other and the songs they played; each of them adding a bit of themselves in the performance. They delivered a beautiful setlist that navigated through both Nielsen’s solo material and revisited some of The Growlers’ classics leaving every fan not ready to leave even after the light came on at the end of the night. It is indeed a wicked game and a crying shame, there’s no way to give the crowd a love test because his fans would all easily pass.
For upcoming tour dates please visit: One Match Left Tour .
VIRGIN LADY LUCK
LONG HOT NIGHT
DOPE ON A ROPE
SHAM ROCK ROCK
WORLD TO MYSELF
HOW DO YOU LIKE IT SO FAR?
ONE MATCH LEFT
BLOOD OF A MUTT
ROCK AND ROLL WITH ALL OF YOU