Here’s why you shouldn’t have missed Brett Dennen at Great American Music Hall

Brett DennenPhotos by Tom Dellinger // Written by Lindsay Alamillo //

Brett Dennen with Firekid //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
June 1st, 2016 //

Northern California native Brett Dennen put out his sixth album Por Favor last month and is supporting it with a nationwide tour that will last well into the fall. The 36-year-old singer-songwriter and his band stopped by the Great American Music Hall for a sold-out show on a Tuesday night. For those who missed out, an additional show was added for the following evening.

The show began with a performance by three-piece band Firekid from the infamous Muscle Shoals, Ala. They added a funky twist to their Americana vibe and covered a compilation of different songs with a little help from an old Game Boy and its cartridges. Their unique sound and upbeat energy held the crowd’s attention and kept the bodies moving until Dennen took the stage.

Brett Dennen

The first time I watched Dennen perform live was several years ago when he opened before Colbie Caillat during a John Mayer concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre. I would applaud him on how far he has come since then, but to be completely honest, he hasn’t grown drastically. He was, at that time, a hidden gem and is finally getting the recognition that he so deserves.

Dennen is not the kind of artist who demands a crowd’s attention. Instead, the audience seems to voluntarily surrender their attention as voices fade and whispers turn to silence quickly in anticipation of his set. He walked onto the stage barefoot, as he often does, and began playing with a sort of comfort and ease that made you feel like you were guest in his home.

The microphone that emitted the vocals seemed to be a bit low, but even so, Dennen’s voice managed to fill the room and all the hearts within it, which could have been measured by the smiles that appeared within moments of hearing his first song. He mixed up his old and new material perfectly, satisfying all of our ears. Near the end of his set, he remembered that his amplifier had broken the night before and continued to play “Make You Crazy” the way it used to be played, with his guitarist playing both parts on Dennen’s behalf.

Very few people left the spots they solidified at the beginning of the show because Dennen’s presence was so contagious. It seemed like no one wanted to leave where they were posted up because the spot they had attained was like scoring gold.

Brett Dennen

Dennen is an artist through and through. His talents can be recognized as soon as he strums his acoustic guitar and the words leave his lips. The lyrics he sings tells stories and provoke feelings, leaving just about every girl in the room wishing that he was serenading her. When you watch Dennen perform live, it makes you feel grateful that talent of his kind is still alive and well, reminding you to appreciate the art of songwriting in its purest form.

If you have yet to familiarize yourself with the sounds of Dennen, check out his newest LP Por Favor or any of his other albums before he makes his way back to California to play with the Avett Brothers this September.

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