I didn’t grow up with Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, but my kids did, especially my youngest who discovered it after it ceased production. Of even more interest to my daughter, though, was the music career of co-star Drake Bell.
Bell released his first album a year into the series run and received favorable reviews. He has released a total of 3 albums and 2 EPs, the latest of which was just released last summer.
His current tour is a solo run, just Drake and his guitar. The set features mostly original tunes, and the occasional cover. For example, in Cincinnati he opened with a cover of the Vanilla Ice track “Ice, Ice, Baby.” From there he plucked songs from his own catalog and even played a request (made earlier by someone related to the reviewer).
A lot of twenty-somethings were in the crowd and it was hard to tell if they were there ironically, as they say, or were true fans. Of course, anything 20 year-old-dudes do looks dickey, so it’s hard to tell. However, these cats bought merch, sang along, and took lots of video, so if it was a laugh, a lot of effort went into it.
In any case, Bell sounded great and his set list showed what a great pop songwriter he is, both on his own and as a collaborator. His best track, arguably, is the one that was requested, “You’re Not Thinking,” a power pop masterpiece he wrote for his A Reminder EP from 2011, which unfortunately has had its availability suspended apparently due to legal wranglings.
Bell wisely chose his two most popular tunes to close the show, “Makes Me Happy” and “Found Away,” which really brought the house down.
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PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.