Sunday, July 22, 2007

Navigating the zombies...


My weirdly thwarted-at-every-corner day yesterday ended on a high note thankfully. My brother and I ventured to Vancouver's netherworld to see Dan Mangan at a new place called The Chapel. On the corner of Dunlevy & Cordova, The Chapel sits pretty much smack in the middle of Vancouver's drug addled/homeless/crack-whore riddled heart. I had tried to get tickets earlier in the day to no avail, so we decided to get there a bit before doors opened to line up ... and quickly made the decision that standing around really wasn't an option...so we hid in the jeep a couple of blocks away. It really is a pretty sad sight down there now - people really do look like zombies, moving along their uneven, jerky, stiff, sightless paths to who knows where. The city's addicted/homeless/disenfranchised problem grows and grows - but that is an entirely different, far more depressing blog than I want this to be...so I will temporarily put that thought/issue on the back burner (and I know, in doing so, aren't I just acting like everyone else? Sigh...) Anyway, scooting fast from our parked car (and in front of the car that one particularly drug addled woman had just been invited to slide into) we quickly made our way to the doors.

The Chapel is an old funeral home that has been renovated into a really nice gallery/music space. I really hope it makes it - Vancouver doesn't really have "listening rooms" for live music, and that is what this place is. It holds about 150, and last night it was completely packed, and much to my delight for most of the evening the group was QUIET. Really quiet. Pin drop quiet. So quiet that I would invite them to my club when I open it.

There were a couple of opening acts - James Lamb & the Liabilities, and Said the Whale. Both were good, but James Lamb was the attention grabber - some nice songwriting, great harmonies, and the no-fail combo of cello and accordion. Dan Mangan played solo, and was great. It was a label release party for the rerelease of his album Postcards & Daydreaming (which by the way has been on high rotation on my mp3 player for months), and I really hope it gets some attention. I know he has been touring internationally, and as per usual is getting more attention abroad than here. He's got all the components - strong songwriting, a unique voice, good stage presence and a unique but accessible sound. And he's only 24. Keep your eyes and ears out for him, he's worth a listen (or for something non-acoustic and less likely to make your eyes tear up, try this).