With nothing else occupying my schedule for the evening, I decided to go to a concert last night. This is fairly out of character for me. Although I’m an avid music listener, I’m not a regular concert-goer. I think live music can be great, but only if you’re familiar with it beforehand. Its hard to hear exactly what the singer is saying and there are lots of distractions, so if you aren’t at least passingly familiar with the music beforehand it would seem to be of little value. Luckily this was Mike Doughty playing, who’s in my top ten favorite acts.
The show was in Buffalo, which was a downer. In addition to being over an hour away, it required actually going to Buffalo, which I avoid. I have no actual grievance against Buffalo, it’s just one of those rivalries I adhere to without reason (Canada, France, the South, dentists et al.) But I made it there and back without any incident, which was somewhat impressive considering I had no map and didn’t know the actual address of the venue. Although the concert was free I did end up paying for parking, which took a small degree of the pleasure away from potentially cost-free entertainment.
Attending a concert is a rather difficult thing; there are so many different elements to avoid. You want to stay equally far away from the smokers and the pot-smokers, as well as the angry drunks and the happy drunks. You can’t stand too close to the speakers or your head will explode before the end of the evening. There weren’t any mosh pits to avoid, but there were groups of both giggling high school girls and bikers, both of which are to be avoided. But eventually I found a spot that I liked and greatly enjoyed the show.
Mike didn’t do anything terribly noteworthy during the performance. He did throw in a Guns N’ Roses cover, as well as one by Kenny Rogers. But otherwise it was all his original stuff, mostly from his most recent album. I was hoping he’d bust out some of his old stuff from Soul Coughing, but no such luck. But I like his newer stuff as well so it was still a good show.
For those of you that haven’t heard Mike Doughty, which I assume is the vast majority, you should definitely check him out. He’s got a very distinctive voice and interesting lyrics. His solo work that he’s currently working on is very melodic and has more of a rock beat to it than his Soul Coughing strangeness. I, of course, like the strangeness, but both are good. I particularly noticed last night the repetitive nature of his music. It’s not really repetitive in a bad way, but it comes across like chanting. For instance his chorus in a particular song is “All these tremendous brunettes around, all these tremendous brunettes” repeated several times. It makes the songs easy to sing along with, and would certainly cut down on time writing lyrics.
Due to impending rain he only ended up playing for about an hour. It irks me greatly to spend more time traveling than actually being entertained, but it just a sacrifice I had to make. He did however have time to do an encore, which I HATE. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad to get another couple songs out of him, but I hate the very idea of encores. They’re an incredibly stupid tradition. Imagine being at a dinner party and having the host tell you the meal is over. They then refused to provide dessert unless everyone told them how wonderful the meal was. You’d think they were an arrogant self-centered jerk. If the musician wants to play another couple songs, then do it. If they feel this is due to a good audience, then fine. But don’t do this stupid walking off the stage just to come right back on crap. It’s dumb so don’t do it.
But do go listen to some Mike Doughty.
Suggested songs from Soul Coughing: Circles, Super Bon Bon, Janine, Supra Genius.
Suggested songs from Mike Doughty: American Car, 27 Jennifers, Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well, Grey Ghost, Busting Up a Starbucks.