I am a man with a lot of free time and apparently no better place to spend my money than on my endless pursuit of the music I love and a hunger for new music. I’ve been to more shows than I could possibly count. I’ve been to stadiums to see bands on major labels, but more predominately I’ve been to coffee shops, clubs, city halls, and holes in the wall. I’ve seen thousands of garage bands and musicians. The reason I preface a review of another artist with these statements is because I can honestly say that last night I saw one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen.
Nate Allen, or Destroy Nate Allen, is a folk rock musician from Oregon who brings to life the very core of what the punk rock and DIY ethics embody. He travels the country on his own dime, living out of his van, living off whatever amounts a show might pay, merch, and donations. I had the honor of opening for him on a show he played at The Espresso Institute in Flushing, Michigan. When he played he had the shop cut most of their lights off, stepped out away from the microphone and didn’t bother to plug his guitar in. He started picking his guitar and singing in the single most heartfelt, soulful belt I’ve ever heard. He sang his songs with a confidence and honesty that made it seem almost like he was just telling a story. I could almost see the stories in front of my eyes as the words left his lips. I was hypnotized by the presence he brought to the room.
His current album is called “Awake O’Sleeper” and he asks only for a donation in exchange for it if you can spare it (which I was more than happy to). The CD contains 10 of the most expressive folk-punk songs I’ve ever heard. His upcoming album, “Take it Easy” contains some even greater pieces of work. The song “Arizona” tells the story of living on the road as a real musician, and it tells it so vividly and eloquently that you can almost put yourself in Nate’s shoes.
Bottom line… listen to the stuff: