Reviews:: Mark Berube / Dan Mangan @ WISE Hall

Thursday night marked the "official" release of Vancouverite Mark Berube's latest effort - What the River Gave the Boat (review here). He had good friend Dan Mangan open up for him, and Dan's honest song writing was the perfect way to warm up the large crowd.

Dan - armed only with a commanding presence and his trusty acoustic - played through his catalog (getting the biggest reaction for Journal of a Narcoleptic), and gave the crowd a taste of what his new record is going to be all about. Normally, a man + acoustic + local show = everyone talking but Dan was able to entertain the room nicely. He even called Mark up on stage to play three tracks and the duo sounds fantastic together. They harmonize well, and when Dan got the crowd to sing along to Robots Need Love Too, you could see newbies edging towards the merch counter.

Dan's latest record - Postcards and Daydreaming - is a great listen and seeing him own a room shows he's one of those "real" singers with the potential to take off.

But the night belonged to Mark. He took the stage in a solid suit / fedora combo and opened up with an acapella track that started with the South African national anthem (my wife's South African roots helped out on that one) and he never looked back. As the band joined him for 5 tracks from his NEXT record (What the Boat Gave the River), the crowd was excited but getting antsy. CBC has been killing tracks from the new release, so everyone wanted to get singing.

Berube delivered, mixing in some backstory for the songs with his spirited performance. The crowd lost it when he played Pretty Little Bird (the guy behind us actually started doing cartwheels), but essentially every song sounded great. He took the time to work with a string quartet and the lush arrangements added even more density to his already full sound, so needless to say, WISE Hall was rocking. My personal fave was the addition of the stabbing strings on Tomorrow - a song about his friends who were periliously close to the London bombings and how it affected Mark's outlook on life.

I recorded Mark singing over the slow drawn strings on Yebo Mama to give you an idea how powerful his voice sounded. He's currently heading across Canada so those of you lucky enough to be in a town where he's stopping... do yourself a favor and go.
MP3:: Yebo Mama - Mark Berube (@WISE Hall)

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