Sunday, December 2, 2007

Reviews:: Mike Doughty @ the Red Room, Vancouver BC

"Hello my British Columbian Friends."

A simple greeting, a chair, his cello player Scrap on his side, and Mike was ready to entertain. Mike Doughty has been through more than almost anyone he will perform for or share a stage with. Heroine addiction, the rise and fall of a super popular college rock band, years of traveling across the world playing shows alone and selling cd-r's to keep going. Suffice to say, he's lived his life beyond the limitations of the mundane.

But as he walked onto the stage last night, dressed in a blazer, pants and some boots, it felt like something had changed about Mike. It wasn't his talent - as his unique, muted, infectious strums moved the crowd effortlessly, forcing spontaneous sing-alongs, smiles, and air guitar solos - or his willingness to entertain and open up to those in attendance. No, like always, he not only engaged the crowd, he included us. The premise of this tour was the "Question Jar" tour, where Mike and Scrap answered questions written by the audience and placed in the magic jar. Sadly, us Canadians seemed to miss the meaning, and included more statements than questions, but Mike seemed unconcerned.

No, it took me a while, but what has changed is Mike's overall demeanor. He's unbelievable calm; more relaxed, more at peace with where he is, and who he is. And most importantly, he seems happier than any time I can remember seeing him play. This really became obvious when two guys in the front row where talking over the delicate cello and acoustic notes. In the past Mike would have gone off, playing a round of the "shut the f*ck up" game, but he instead he politely asked them to head the bar, admitting he didn't want to be a drag. He wanted to make sure everyone had a great time, himself included.

The result, well, I've always said it: Mike Doughty earns your money. He's on tour playing songs from his new record - Golden Delicious (review here) - but he played request after request last night. Soft Serve, Janine, Circles, Thank You Lord for Sending Me the F Train. and 27 Jennifers. He asked for our patience when he played new tracks like Navigating by the Stars at Night and Fort Hood. As I suspected in the review, the new songs take on a new life in concert, as the Motown and sunshine of Fort Hood are stripped off and expose the true meaning of a named after the base that has suffered the most casualties in the war.

On a snowy, cold night in Vancouver, it was well worth walking in the snow and standing outside while the asshats that run the Redroom figure out how to open doors on time. I had more fun at last night's show than I have in forever. If you have a chance to see Mike on this tour, make sure you do.
MP3:: Unsingable Name - Live @ The Redroom

Posted at 11:58 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 5:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

I just stumbled upon your review (six months late). Thanks very much for posting it, and for sharing the MP3 of "Unsingable Name".

Did you record the entire gig? Any chance of sharing it via or some other means?


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