Danko Jones (September 20, 2007)

How are you? I’m feeling unmotivated but otherwise well, thanks.

So we saw Danko Jones. “We” being me, Mika, Rob, and Dave. Mika had originally introduced me to Danko’s music, so she was the experienced veteran of the team. We (this time meaning me and Mika – try to keep up) had seen Danko last year, and I’ve heard the albums, so I had some significant Danko experience. Dave and Rob, meanwhile, were coming into this cold. Dave knew only one song (it had been featured in wrestling), whereas Rob only knew what he had seen on YouTube after agreeing to come along.

Mika and I arrived at about 8:30. Dave and Rob were already there, discussing Dave’s mystery giftcard. Rob is a fan of giving giftcards for people’s birthdays. He is also a fan of not telling you the amount that is on them. Dave’s giftcard was marked by a handwritten equation that read greater than zero but less than infinity. Which was kind of too bad for Dave, as an infinity giftcard would be pretty sweet. Actually, the infinity symbol looks like an 8 on its side, but what Rob had written looked more like two zeroes touching, so I thought the amount was greater than zero but less than double-zero. Confusing. Luckily, I had to deal with no such thing when Rob gave me a giftcard for my birthday earlier in the year; the amount line was filled in with “I DON’T KNOW I STOLE IT.”

We had time to kill, as tends to happen, so we had drinks and nachos. Or rather, Dave and Rob had nachos, and Mika and I stole their nachos. And we chatted, mostly about Rob’s parents who – judging from an old picture he discovered – were members of the Olympic Sex Team. The jokes wrote themselves. Go for the gold! The Special Olympics Sex Team! FIVE INTERLOCKING RINGS!

Actually, I don’t know what that last one means. Also, I only thought of it right now.

Anyway. The first band was called Mad Young Darlings. It took several tries before we figured out what they were calling themselves, and really, we weren’t certain until Danko Jones thanked them during his set. My best guess was Mandarin Something-or-other. They were almost all wearing red and black. One guy had eye makeup. Rob suggested that they stole their outfits from My Chemical Romance.

The lead singer lady was personable enough, repeatedly thanking the people who were paying attention, and (jokingly?) telling “the people in the back who think we suck” that we didn’t have to worry, there were only six more songs before Danko Jones. I wanted to yell “YOUR ATTEMPTS AT HUMOUR CONTAIN AN UNCOMFORTABLE ELEMENT OF TRUTH,” but I’ve never been the type to shout stuff out at rock shows. And anyway, I didn’t think they sucked. I wasn’t in love with them and I wouldn’t go out specifically to see them, but I wouldn’t run fleeing from the room if they opened for someone else. The rest of the table seemed unimpressed by them, but Rob, Mika and I agreed that compared to Something About An Elephant, they were sensational. Faint praise, I guess.

The turnout at Louis’ had been unimpressive so far, and it didn’t really get better as the evening went on. When Danko and his band took the stage, the first thing he commented on was the “soft crowd,” but he promised that they would rock just as hard – if not harder – so that the people who didn’t show would later learn that they had missed out. To give you an idea of the turnout, he later made a comment about playing “in front of 100 people. Who am I kidding? 60 people.” I haven’t heard from anyone who was at the Regina show the next night to see if attendance was any better there. It was a Friday, and Danko does get some radio play in Regina, so hopefully that helped.

Throughout the show, Danko would digress about famous Canadians that he doesn’t much like. Ben Mulroney was on top of the list, but that’s not real interesting since everyone hates Ben Mulroney. However, Danko’s also not a fan of Emily Haines (of Metric) or David Usher (formerly of Moist). He never really went into detail as to why, which was kind of a shame, but they were still top-notch rants. He talked about people filming said rants and putting them on YouTube, and several people in the crowd had cell phone cameras out, so if you really care, you could go look and see if anything’s there.

On occasion, he would stop ranting long enough to sing songs. Like I said, I had seen Danko in Regina the year before, and that makes it hard to write this. As I said last year, there’s no mistaking a Danko Jones song. They all sound the same, and they don’t quite sound like anything else. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly fine with them all sounding the same because they all sound awesome. But it doesn’t give me a lot to write about, musically. My last review says he didn’t play Cadillac last time. I’m glad I wrote that down, because he played Cadillac this time, and the previous lack of Cadillac (that I had entirely forgotten about) meant that I appreciated it more. After the fact, I mean.

I should point out that the bass player didn’t say a whole lot, but I still found him tremendously entertaining. I don’t know if I can even explain why. He was just clearly having a good time and that’s always fun to watch.

So yeah, they played a lot of songs, Danko talked about a lot of people, and closed after sharing his mantra: “this heart gets stronger, this skin gets thicker, this mouth gets louder.” Ultimately, the show was quite similar to the one we saw last year. That was a great show, so I was perfectly fine with this. And everyone else seemed perfectly fine with this show as well. I don’t know if it will lead to everyone telling two friends and Danko returning next year to a sold-out crowd, but one can hope. The packed house was the one element of the show that was lacking, and besides, it’s nice when something that’s actually good gets popular.

FREE MUSIC: Mad Young Darlings / Danko Jones

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