Dan Mangan @ The ACT in Maple Ridge, Feb. 12, 2011

Dan Mangan.  Dan. Mangan.  Dan. The Man. Mangan.

Yes, I finally got to see Dan Mangan live with my lovely wife.  I would just like to apologize, first off, for the potential loss of words and comparisons and metaphors when writing this concert review.  Please don’t judge my blog based on this review, you see, it’s about 12 hours since Mr. Mangan and his band of scruffy hooligans took the stage at the ACT in Maple Ridge, and I’m still a little bit blown away.

Maybe if you have seen Dan Mangan live in an intimate setting, you’d understand what I’m talking about.

You see, until yesterday, I would have considered myself medium-sized Dan Fan.  I only own his latest album, Nice, Nice, Very Nice, and I’d never seen him live.  I would like to say that I am now (for lack of a better word) a super-sized Dan Fan.

But enough with my raving and on with the review.

Prior to Dan’s set, local songwriter David Vertesi warmed the crowd up with his unique brand of songwriting.  Minimalist electric guitar playing with only the accompaniment of a drummer and upright bass player, interesting.  While David’s music was different, it was still interesting.  While the drummer was playing the snare with his left hand, he was playing a keytar (keyboard in the shape of a guitar) on a stand with his right hand.  Impressive.  After about 6 or 7 interesting songs, David’s set was over and the house lights lit-up: intermission.

After roughly a half-hour, the lights dimmed at the ACT in Maple Ridge and judging by the shouts, screams and claps, the crowd knew that it was time for Dan.  An even louder wave of cheers spilled out when Dan walked onto the stage, along with his mostly bearded posse of a band.  The band consisted of a lead guitar player, drummer/percussionist, trumpeter, and upright bassist, and each one of them was smokin’ good.  To use the word ‘tight’ to describe the band may very well be an understatement.

Dan began finger-picking a chord on his acoustic guitar before the band started, and after about 20 seconds, turned it into the unmistakeable strum-patter to his fantastic song Sold.

And they were off!

I still can’t help but smile when remembering the show.  Not only was this show sonically gratifying, it was fun.  Dan is going to have a long and fruitful career if he can continue to relate to his audience the way he does, never mind his music.  He’s proficient of a songwriter and guitar player, like a young Bob Dylan, but with a little more personality.  Or, a lot more…  Dan is a bit of a musical comic and I’m sure anyone who was at the show can attest to this.  He had the crowd laughing on numerous occasions, not only between songs but right smack in the middle of songs, even.

As far as the set list went, Mr. Mangan played  most of his latest album, threw in a few older songs from his debut album, Postcards and Daydreaming, and played us a couple of new songs from his yet-to-be recorded album.  Judging by these few new tunes we heard, we are going to be in for a real treat when he decides to record and release his new album.

These songs were good.  Very good.

Dan finished off the night with one of my personal favourites, Robots.  Once the coda line of “Robots need love too, they want to be loved by you” was about to be sung to finish off the song (and the night), Dan yelled “These are the words, everyone sing along!”  And like any great entertainer would, he sang the first round along with the crowd, and then proceeded to hop off the stage strumming his guitar and stood on the second row of seats, bellowing out the words while the entire first 12 rows of people got up, ran to the front where Dan was and sang along, all the while the band was killing it on stage.

This is where I can’t help but feel a little blessed.  It’s not often that I get goosebumps at a concert and truly feel that I’m part of a rare, magical experience.  It was spiritual, heartfelt, and fun.

While the band stopped playing, Dan hopped back onstage, put his guitar down and sang acapella with the rest of the crowd for a couple more lines and then waved goodbye.

As I stood next to my beautiful wife, in complete awe of what just happened, I said, “There’s no way you can follow that up with an encore.”

I was wrong.

He promptly returned to the stage, along with his band and performed two more songs.  The first one being an Elliot Smith cover, wish I could remember which one.  And finally, the second, and last song was called So Much For Everyone, where Dan taught the whole crowd how to sing the vocal harmony “Ooooh, aaaaah” part.  The whole band unplugged from their amps, Dan sang without a microphone and the crowd Oooh’d and Aaaaah’d right perfect to the song, just how Dan wanted us to.

Beautiful. Fun. Magical. Inspiring.

Thank you, Dan Mangan and your band of hooligans for such an amazing experience.  I know I’ll never forget it.

No need to rate this concert, I think the review speaks for itself.

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~ by whet_hopped on February 13, 2011.

2 Responses to “Dan Mangan @ The ACT in Maple Ridge, Feb. 12, 2011”

  1. So thanks to your enthusiastic review I am listening to Dan instead of studying! Thanks for pointing me in the direction of some new music, my ipod has been a little lacking lately 🙂

    • That’s fantastic Andrea! Dan is pretty awesome, and his music is that much better live, words cannot explain. Can’t wait to see him again! Glad I could help you out in the music department 🙂

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