It’s a cloudy, rainy day in Washington, DC. Snuggled tightly in the Southwest Waterfront, there’s plenty of sunshine to go around as Megan Davies takes to the stage at Union Stage. She smiles at the crowd, picks up her guitar, and begins her set.
Had Davies been performing to a sold out crowd at the Verizon Center, there’s no doubt there would be rumors of lip-syncing. In an intimate club like Union Stage, there’s nothing but pure genuine vocals being belted out, and Davies sounds even more fantastic than she does on her studio recordings. Later in the show, she acknowledged that an acoustic set can be “hit or miss,” but with Davie’s raw talent taking front and center stage, the acoustic setup worked to her advantage. When you’ve got a voice like that, you don’t need to hide it behind excessive production.
Fans of Davies were treated to a wide array of her songs, from originals to covers and even brand new material that she’d never played live, except for on this tour. Davies put her unique, acoustic twist on the covers she performed, recognizing they’re a big part in her success. One big part of Davies’ success has come from a video she recorded with her sister, Jaclyn, who joined Davies on stage for a special performance of the ‘See You Again/ Love Me Like You Do/ Sugar’ Acoustic mashup.
That mashup played a pivotal role in Davies’ career. She humbly noted the video having amassed over 53 million views (most of which, she says, are from Brazil — a country she hopes to one day visit.) Watching the two sisters perform together was so satisfying; both have such unfettered talent that came together for an intense and emotional mashup.
Covering other artists’ music, even when putting your own twist on it, can be hard to live up to the original. Davies put her stamp on the covers in the mashups, but she was at her strongest when singing her original content. Davies performed multiple songs from her 2017 release, Bad Poetry, offering insight into the songs’ creation and inspiration.
Davies referred to the EP’s title and how it was a way for her to brace herself for criticisms. “We’re just writing some bad poetry,” she joked. That statement was hardly true; all the tracks from Bad Poetry had such life and inventiveness to them, and Davies put the passion that came with their creation into her stage performance.
The lighthearted show briefly took a more serious turn for one song — a cover of John Craigie’s ’28’ — as Davies discussed the infamous 27 Club that shrouds musicians. The song was one she wanted to add to her live performances after turning 27 herself. As she sang about Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, it was hard to not get goosebumps. “If I could only make it to 28,” Davies belted, feeling the pain of the legends that have paved the way for musicians like her. The moving cover proves that while Davies is in her groove performing upbeat love songs, she can still knock it out of the park when tackling more somber material.
When the night eventually drew to a close, Keelan Donovan joined Davies for their acoustic cover of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness.’ Donovan performed a set earlier in the night before Davies, full of charisma and toe-tapping tunes. Davies shared with the crowd the bond the two have, starting out on tour together in Donovan’s old car that “must have had 200,000 miles put on it in one year.” It’s clear to see these two are thick as thieves, and their duet was all the better for it.
It’s rare to find a talent like Davies performing in a venue as intimate as Union Stage. She possesses the vocal talents and drive of an artist selling out stadiums, with an ingenuity to mix and blend the work of others, breathing new life into year old tracks.
To learn more about Megan Davies and check out her tour dates, visit her official website. If you’re in the DC area, be sure to check out Union Stage as well for a fantastic venue with wonderful sound, lighting and atmosphere.