Dan Bern @ The Compound Grill

A peculiar thing happens when artists taste success but don't hit it really big: They transition from being the Next Big Thing to being a cult favorite. It's then that comparisons to other semi-obscure but critically significant musicians roll in. There really should be a cap on comparisons to Bob Dylan, since the intended compliment means absolutely nothing at this point, but most media pieces on Dan Bern include it anyway. What's a Dylan comparison in 2011 supposed to mean? Bern had a late-'90s stint on a Sony subsidiary, an album produced by Ani DiFranco, and an alternative radio novelty hit about his balls (they're as big as grapefruits, apparently) called "Tiger Woods." Success doesn't usually stick to provocative musicians who catch on with one weird and sort of funny track (ask King Missile), but Bern has continued to put out records and tour, mixing the political, Judaica, and the absurd. Most folky singer-songwriters are boring, but with Dan Bern, you get a show, complete with impersonations and moments that seem like indie theater. He's no Dylan, but he probably deserves credit for being himself.


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