Leave it to David Barbe, Athens local and University of Georgia professor, to schedule a show on a Super Bowl Sunday.
Beginning a month-long series of intimate sets at the World Famous with his band David Barbe and the Quick Hooks, Barbe played a solo set Sunday, Feb. 5th to a pleasant crowd, which is saying something due to an unpleasant end to a Georgia sporting event (shocker).
Barbe says he didn’t realize his show was scheduled during the game at first, but decided to keep the date once he knew. No one else in his band wanted to play that date, but Barbe liked that it was a strange thing to do, so he decided to play a solo set for his first performance.
“Now I can say I played the Super Bowl,” he jokes.
He began this series of performances with a stripped down, raw compilation of recently written originals. The small venue made for an intimate, cozy atmosphere. Listeners sat either at tables in front of the stage or at the bar, drinking and eating snacks, and chatting quietly while listening to the moving set.
Barbe performed new compositions, one of which he stated was more of a poem than a song, while interacting and speaking with the crowd. His abstract performance created a unique and enjoyable experience for the listeners.
Barbe played four weeks straight at World Famous, with every show delivering a different sound. He was accompanied by various versions of his band The Quick Hooks, as well as other special guests.
The main group that appeared includes Frank McDonald and Joe Row of The Glands, John Mills of Blood Kin, John Neff and Jay Gonzalez of Drive By Truckers, and Kyle Spence, drummer for Kurt Vile.
Some of the openers include Juan de Fuca, Jay Gonzalez and T. Hardy Morris.
Barbe stated that every show would contain a different combination of players on different instruments with a different setlist. During the show on the 12th, the ensemble didn’t have a drummer, so Barbe jumped on the kit himself while continuing to sing.
Every show contained a lot of freedom for the musicians to change up the setlist and improv. Barbe said he was expecting a lot of creativity and connection from these shows, promising “a lot of creation on the spot.”
Barbe prefers this type of show to a typical, outlined performance. He enjoys freedom to change his sound and be connected to his music in the moment. He stated that he is wary of falling into a routine, as it may dampen creativity.
“When you do something for a long time, you can get into a rut. I don’t like that. I play music for the way it makes me feel. I’m not concerned with being bound by a setlist.”
Barbe is known for shifting from ensemble to ensemble—he says this is healthier for his creativity and forces him to constantly rethink his sound.
Constantly playing with different musicians seems to be a catalyst for his ingenuity. This unique series of shows is definitely a testament to that.
Barbe describes the feel of these performances as “quiet, weird, tripped out and unpredictable.” And they were indeed that.
Some reincarnation of the Quick Hooks has played each Sunday in February. Catch Barbe’s last show of this series tonight, February 26, along with T. Hardy Morris opening.
Morris will begin at 8 p.m. and Barbe’s set will begin at 9.
David Barbe is also in the process of recording a solo album, due to be released this summer.