SLCR #131: Danny Michel (April 1, 2008)

All credit for this one has to go to Feely. Once again, there was a concert, and once again, I had nobody to go with, and once again, I thought about skipping out. So I sat down for a chat online as I tried to make up my mind.

JamesEarthquake: Feely

OMG its Feely: hi
JamesEarthquake: should I go to Danny Michel
JamesEarthquake: nobody wants to go
JamesEarthquake: and I am poor anyway
JamesEarthquake: so in theory I should not go
JamesEarthquake: but I love Danny Michel
OMG its Feely: I’d go
OMG its Feely: fuck em
OMG its Feely: go see your canada man
JamesEarthquake: a valid argument and the best I have heard all day
OMG its Feely: sweet

So I went. The promise of Danny Michel’s new CD, Feather, Fur & Fin, pushed me over the edge.

I am always careful to not show up too early for these types of events, as I don’t want to be sitting around by myself. I am pretty confident in my appropriate-arrival-time-choosing abilities, but I packed my DS just in case. The website said 8:00 – 11:30, but websites can lie, so I showed up about 8:50 or so. Some girl was playing the keyboards. She sang for about 30 seconds, thanked us, and left the stage. The host guy who was handling introductions asked for one more round of applause for Regina’s own Brittany Kraus, so let’s assume that’s her name. What I heard was perfectly fine.

There wasn’t a whole lot of time between sets, but I did get the chance to pick up the new Danny Michel CD as well as a Diet Pepsi. You care.

It was probably about 9:15 when Danny Michel took the stage. It had been a long day for young Daniel, who had driven 10 hours to get here. He did, however, leave himself a bit of time to go shopping at the local Value Village, where he found a vintage amp. He paid $25, which was a wonderful deal. Not just because the amp was worth a lot more, but because inside of the amp was a song, apparently written by the amp’s previous owner. Tonight, Danny promised, he would perform this song.

As I was leaving my apartment, I loaded up my jacket pockets. Wallet and keys are essential. The DS seemed like a good idea. It’s still chilly enough that I keep gloves in my pockets. There was a pack of gum (Dentyne Blast Chocomint). And… do I really need my camera? Really? I was just about to head out, when I decided that I may as well bring my camera along. And now I was suddenly so, so thankful.

Before we could unearth this hidden gem, Danny played us a few of his classics, including Perfect, White Lightning, and Toledo, which is one of my favourites. He also told us about finding himself on the guest list to see Ministry in Alberta. This is why, when he asked us what style he should play when performing this new song, someone yelled for Ministry. And he did it. Danny Michel is a very polite, clean-cut fellow with a voice that’s just high enough that you might question his ability to do a good death metal voice. You should not question his death metal voice. It’s so awesome. But not as awesome as the song itself. Titled “So Long,” it was the best thing I’ve ever heard. I recorded this performance for myself, but the camerawork is pretty shaky because I kept laughing.

I was sitting off to the side, watching the show and occasionally taking illicit videos, but I seemed to be sitting in heckler’s row. Sitting two to my left was the guy who yelled out for Ministry. When someone else yelled “Danny Michel for Prime Minister” (Danny was selling “DM for PM in 2010” buttons), this guy responded to Danny’s impromptu campaign promises with a demand for “less talk more rock.” I thought it was a bit much coming from someone who didn’t even look up from his books the whole night, but I’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he was merely suggesting another campaign promise instead of just being a dick. I mean, I’d vote for a Prime Ministerial candidate whose campaign slogan was “less talk, more rock.” Assuming they actually rocked, that is. Meanwhile, immediately to my right was the guy who yelled that Danny was “a real good guitar tuner.” A few feet from him were the random yellers and the off-beat clapping team. They get rowdy in Regina on an April Fools Tuesday night.

I don’t really know what else there is to say. He played a lot of songs. I liked the songs, including the new ones that I hadn’t heard before. The new album features a song about Mexican wrestling, but he didn’t play that one… well, unless it was steeped in metaphor. Basically, I’ve been promised a Mexican wrestling song, and the sooner I get done this review, the sooner I can listen to the new album and devote some actual attention to it.

There was one encore of one song, a Los Lobos cover. He led the crowd in singing the chorus, then unplugged from his amplifier and played the guitar as he walked offstage. It was a pretty cool way to end the show. I’d have taken more songs, but I was certainly happy with what we got. And though he may have been tired (and the crowd was both smaller and less receptive than you’d think, resulting in a show that – as a whole – didn’t quite compare to the other two times I’ve seen him), he still stuck around and chatted with everyone as they left. What a cool guy. I got my CDs signed and took a picture because hassling the marginally famous ensures good times for all.

In closing, I should mention that Danny is up for a Juno award for best DVD. The first time I saw him, he was up for Best New Artist and promised to lose to Michael Bublé, which he did. On this night, he once again vowed to lose, though he wasn’t picking a winner this time. He did say that the Juno folks wanted to know about his limo plans for the ceremony. He emailed them back and told them that because he loves the environment, he and his date would be arriving on bicycles. I think he was kidding. But they thought this was a great idea, so I think he might actually do it. You might want to check that out, it could be funny. He might even ride his bike all the way up the red carpet as promised, though I don’t think he’ll go through with his plan of locking his bike to Ben Mulroney and drinking the night away. At least, not ALL of that plan.

Put yer words here:

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