Dan Mangan at the Cultch

September 2, 2009

I caught one of the two sold-out concerts that Vancouver’s Dan Mangan performed at the renovated Cultch last weekend, and it was a glorious show.

Everything came together that night: Mangan’s well-honed confidence as an impactful performer; his ease and sense of humour when talking to the audience between songs; Mangan’s rapport with his strong band; the rare treat of hearing three horn players and a three-member string section expand the sonic palette; the added bonus of having Shayne Koyczan in the house to inject his spoken word mastery; being back in the beloved Cultch for one of the first concerts since it was massively renovated; and the euphoria of being at a sold-out show for a hometown boy who’s making good.

Seven months ago I hadn’t even heard of Mangan. Then a new friend talked glowingly about his music and eventually recommended that I go to the Cultch show. Only after buying tickets for the gig did I actually listen to his music, starting with Mangan’s Roboteering ep and then his debut album, Postcards and Daydreaming. I liked what I heard, especially on Roboteering. There’s a fine line between what Mangan does and what someone like David Gray does, and Mangan is on the right side of that singer/songwriter line. By right, I mean he avoids clichés that are an occupational hazard of his genre, and he stays connected to an alternative DIY sensibility.

This is quite the time for Mangan: he’s deservedly getting rave reviews for his new album, Nice, Nice, Very Nice, including one in the Province that ranked him at the level of Nick Drake! (Dan’s good, but not that good. Not yet anyway.) Plus there he was on the cover of the Georgia Straight. I imagine that receiving this much attention could make it challenging to remain grounded. Just listening to Mangan talk during the show – he’s so damn likable – makes me think the 26-year-old won’t go Kanye West (i.e. ego trip) any time soon.

My usual source for videos of gigs is out-of-town and missed the show (which she would have loved), but I found some decents vids that someone took:

Mangan’s “hit single”, “Robots”, which he somehow managed to F-up, forcing him to stop mid-song and start again. But the way he handled it was so endearing that no one cared:

“Tina’s Glorious Comeback”:

The very intense “Tragic Turn of Events/Move Pen Move”, featuring the performance poetry of Shayne Koyczan:



  1. […] am rare (Russian!) Two Wongs NXEW (Criminal Records In-store) Electric Blogaloo Music vs. Misery no rhyme or reason. […]

  2. SO glad you went, and so glad you liked it!! I wish I could have provided the videos for this one, I really do…next time, next time…
    And I’m pleased that Dan is getting some serious notice!

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