Happy Birthday Dave Davies: The Kinks Live At Fillmore West 1970

By Nate Todd Feb 3, 2021 2:01 pm PST

The Kinks’ Dave Davies celebrates his birthday today. Davies was born on February 3, 1947 in the North London distinct of Fortis Green. Like many English artists of his generation, Davies began his musical journey playing skiffle — a form of folk music popular in the UK in the 1950s — but was also influenced by the music hall genre of his parents’ generation as well as jazz. But also like many artists of his generation, Davies soon got his hands on an electric guitar and in 1963 founded one of the most influential rock bands of all time, The Kinks, with his brother Ray Davies and others.

While it could have been easy for The Kinks to fall through the cracks of the “British Invasion” of the mid-1960s, the band distinguished themselves with their innovative early sound, regarded as proto-punk. Much of The Kinks’ early style can be attributed to Dave, who pioneered the use of distortion by splitting a speaker cone with a razor blade. The sonic aesthetic was integral in the band’s first hit, “You Really Got Me,” which was penned by Ray but driven by Dave’s distorted guitar. The Kinks were also infamous for their quarrelsome nature and general rock ‘n’ roll antics.

But like the punk music they pioneered, beneath the rough and tumble exterior were two very thoughtful songwriters in Ray and Dave. As the facade of rock ‘n’ roll excess began to take hold in popular music, The Kinks began writing songs that not only took a look at everyday English society (1967’s “Waterloo Sunset” & 1968’s “Village Green”) and championed the marginalized masses (1966’s “Dead End Street”) but were also a sometimes scathing satire on the commercial state of the music industry.

The Kinks’ astute socio-economic commentary is on full display in their 1970 satirical concept album, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. On the U.S. leg of the tour supporting the album in November 1970, the band stopped at the legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco (along with a 23-year-old Elton John). The set included earlier hits like the aforementioned “Waterloo Sunset” and “Sunny Afternoon” as well as songs from Lola Vs. Powerman like “Lola,” “A Long Way From Home,” the Dave Davies-penned “Strangers” and more.

To celebrate Dave Davies birthday, listen to audio of The Kinks performing at the Fillmore West in 1970 below via sound light:

Setlist

The Kinks at Fillmore West

  • Mr. Wonderful  
  • Till the End of the Day
  • Last of the Steam Powered Trains
  • Big Sky
  • Brainwashed
  • Strangers
  • A Long Way From Home
  • Harry Rag
  • Act Nice and Gentle
  • Sunny Afternoon
  • Waterloo Sunset
  • Lola
  • Top of the Pops  
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