Dan Mangan concert: Even robots came out to play

By Victoria Strange
Dan Mangan put on a stellar show on Friday night at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. The two time JUNO Award winning Canadian musician began his tour of small towns in mid November. For Mangan, it was a chance to get back to spots he had been neglecting for ages, but also an opportunity to play in an intimate way with his fans. The full house on Friday embraced it.
Mangan set the tone for a deep and soulful evening. Sitting on stage solo without his band Blacksmith, but with their new album Club Meds in his repertoire, Mangan had the opportunity to reinvent some of their more meaningful, and collaborative songs. Even Vessel, with its percussion-driven base and complicated rhythm patterns, was stripped down to a successful solo acoustic version.
Mangan really connected with his audience. There was a great balance of storytelling to music. New songs like Jude and Mouthpiece, sung in Mangan’s husky voice, were supported by the powerful stories that inspired them. We heard of Mangan’s first moments of becoming a new father, his grandfather’s decline into dementia and some of his passionate political views.
And just when it was thought that Mangan was becoming too serious, he interjected little jokes, and opened himself up to requests from the audience. Long-time fans pleaded for older songs like Basket, and Robots—Mangan’s signature ending song from years past. Despite having lyrically matured since the 2009 song, he did not disappoint, and performed a softer version of Robots, which of course, still involved audience participation.
There was no doubt the Mangan show was awesome. He was incredibly genuine and comfortable, like a good friend singing away for you in a private session. He ended the night borrowing a guitar pick from an audience member, leaving the stage behind, and joining everyone in the risers for a final song. With the crowd on their feet, they all helped sing him out. Well, because that’s what friends do.
Victoria Strange is a new resident of Revelstoke. Raised in Ontario, she is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax and has a BEd from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.. Until moving here two months ago Ms. Strange was the co-owner and director of Gallery Page and Strange. She is commenting about local arts and culture for The Current on a regular basis.