What’s left: 360 Days. 99 Bands.
Band #1: Dan Mangan
When/Where: August 31, Great Scott, Allston, MA
Expectations: I love Canadians. I actually know most of his new songs. I wonder if he is playing solo?
The Concert: As Dan Mangan and his three other band members took the stage, 30 people gathered in an awkward semi-circle. Everyone had an unobstructed view of the stage, which is strange to see in a venue that usually holds 200 people. There is nothing quite like a small intimate group gathering for a musician whose concerts in Canada later this month are already sold out. But here in Massachusetts, people must not have gotten wind of this Canadian band, so it was just our intimate little semi-circle waiting for Dan Mangan to begin.
When Mangan opened with the energy-packed “Sold,” his voice was just as gravely and rich live as it was on the album. They closed the song with every band member joining in with an enthusiastic off-beat clapping. He segued into “You Silly Git” and then to “Road Regrets,” keeping the energy up and effectively eliminating the din of the bar chatter as our semi-circle expanded to let the bar flies in. The loud, foot-stomping rock music worked in the magical way that moths are drawn to the moon. The flannel-clad Dan Mangan has a boyish Canadian charm that carried over to his stage presence as he wooed the crowd with anecdotes and Canadian jokes that ended in “eh?” for us all to laugh at. He talked about his war veteran grandfather who was an influence in his song “Post War Blues.” He told the story of two ancient skeletons found buried in each others arms new Verona being part of the inspiration for “Fair Verona.”
During his songs, Mangan would start smiling this big smile like he was remembering something funny. His smile was contagious; as I looked around I noticed that everyone was smiling the same smile right back at him. It was heart-warming, as were his songs. His rich vocals melded with the impeccable playing of his band, who were sweating as much from the lights as on their on-stage antics and enthusiasm. He closed with “Robots” and asked the audience, still assembled in the semi-circle, to sing along. He jumped down from the stage into the center of the small audience and sang along with us at the top of his voice, “Robots need love too / they want to be loved by you.”
Concert Afterglow: It was the first concert in a long time where I was completely immersed in the music and the moment. I had a perma-grin status.
Recommendation: Highest Recommendation
To hear some of Dan Mangan’s music, click here