Dan Mangan Live at Paradiso

This incredibly talented Canadian musician graced Amsterdam with acoustics from the heart and for the feeling; read my review of his June 2011 show here:

Dan Mangan is a scruffy, lovable and notably gifted musician out of Vancouver, who came through Amsterdamon June 14th to perform at the famous church-turned-venue Paradiso. Although he has toured solo internationally for years, this spring tour through Europe- preceding the release of his second LP with label Arts and Crafts (Feist, Broken Social Scene, Los Campesinos!)- marks the first time his band traveled toEurope with him. Joining him on stage was another guitarist, trumpeter, stand up bassist and full-set drummer. Their stage presence was causal and fun, joking together during set as if it was a Tuesday night band practice… in Amsterdam with visitors.

Mangan creatively combined the elements of his band differently for each song, which provided for an impressive variety in style throughout the show. Whether strumming hard like The Dodos or picking rich melodic chords (listen: Sold), Mangan crafts music similar in songwriting and performance passion to Bon Iver and Mumford and Sons, while also reminiscent in vigor to the heartfelt screams of Andrew Jackson Jihad. From indie acoustic ballads (Basket) to foot stompin’ folk to audience choral participation (make sure to check out Robots), the energy of his set, even if sometimes slowing in pace, never lacked in originality or genuine talent.

Living  in Amsterdam this past year, I’ve found that it’s easiest to spend money on concerts of the electro/techno/house variety. This is maybe why I enjoyed this acoustic show so much; I’m beginning to remember how good it feels to have live music envelop, hug and tug at the soul strings. Mangan’s raw acoustic expression inspired my waning practice at guitar; since the show last night I’ve been trying my hand at a hobby I hadn’t had motivation to visit in months.

A nice surprise was their like rendition of Waltz #2 by Elliott Smith. You could say that because Mangan unexpectedly covered an artist I adore, I’m bias to love the gig. This is very true, but with objective support to a performer that put on an otherwise completely unfamiliar show to me: he played the cover towards the end and it only verified the growing smile on my face.

Mangan’s raspy but powerful voice is a defining feature in his music; it really holds all the different styles of song together throughout the show. The lyrics as well: they’re probably personal but definitely poetic, fostering something of a musical conversation towards the audience with both unique and relatable sentiments. This is music from the heart. And although the crowd was relatively standstill during set, I’m confident that every audience member in attendance would say the same.

Check out his website for Blogotheque style videos, music video productions and information about purchasing his albums.

(Originally published on the217.com and readbuzz.com)

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  1. […] seeing Dan Mangan in Amsterdam last year, his sound has grown stronger and his instruments more whimsical (think Andrew Bird but scruffier). […]



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