Written by Dave Clements

For many decades now I have loved live music and every chance I have to go see a show I try hard to take the opportunity. This is especially the case when those performing are acts that I am unfamiliar with and / or first-time events for me.
Drew Holcomb and Donavan Woods were performers that fit that bill last evening in Downtown Houston at the White Oak Music Hall. I’ll come back later in this review and talk about the venue and its name but first let me share my observations about the talent that was on display starting at eight pm sharp as advertised! (So, refreshing!)

I’ll start with the opener. No real showmanship on display to speak of and fortunately none was needed in my estimation. The Canadian from Sarnia, very near Detroit, came out and played his acoustic guitar and sang his songs, on time with very little narrative between songs. The words he did share between songs were somewhat dry and perhaps a little sarcastic. I think his mission was to get this opening gig over as rapidly as possible. I’ll come back and give you my take on why that was the case and why I don’t blame him.
If you look at the photos I took of Donavan he is a big guy and in my estimation his voice doesn’t seem to fit his frame, not that it should matter and regardless I loved his voice. For me it was a blend of Jason Mraz and Casey Abrams, both very appealing to my ears, both very entertaining and both, along with Donavan, worthy of a good listen.

At nine sharp Drew and his Neighbors were in position and playing. So exciting, so refreshing. Although I wasn’t familiar with Drew’s music before the day started I did Google him and found his opening song, titled ‘Find Your People’ which I thoroughly enjoyed both on line and live.
Next up was ‘Tennessee’ and given his roots are in Memphis you can’t be surprised he had a song titled Tennessee. And check out his hat in the Photo Gallery!
‘All The Money’ came next and it didn’t take long for him to have most all the audience engaged in the chorus (notice I didn’t say all.) ‘Dragons’ was forth and then he did (acoustically) ‘American Beauty’. My recollection is a little unclear about when the exact moment was that he stopped singing to politely ask some of the audience to stop talking so that the rest of those in attendance, myself included, could hear what he was singing. Thank goodness they complied (at least for a while) because at that point I had enough, actually way more than enough.

From the moment I arrived until that moment when Holcomb spoke up on the subject there was a constant absurdly loud chatter on the lower level of the room. And the louder the artist sang or played, the louder these idiots talked…almost screaming! Were you there, did it bother you as much as it bothered me?
I wanted, during Donavan’s show, to go outside and change the signing from White Oak Music Hall to White Oak ‘Come Buy A Ticket and Let’s Go Inside and Ignore Others Who Have Come To the Show to Listen to the Artist and Chat’ Hall.
I might understand it during the opener even though I think it is rude as hell but to do it during the headliner is absurd. Why are you there? So, you can take a picture on your cell phone and post on your social media account?
The rumble of talking heads had to be such where Donavan heard it clearly while he was trying to sing…no wonder he looked like he couldn’t wait to depart the stage.