Dan Mangan – Stereo, Glasgow, Sun 29 Apr
The Canadian folk-pop tunesmith unleashes his experimental side
Dan Mangan has previously mentioned that his band members ‘come from an experimental and free-jazz background’ – something that might not be immediately apparent on record but is plainly obvious at tonight’s performance. The brief squalls of noise that formed between-song transitions on latest album Oh Fortune are given ample room to breathe on stage, with keening vocal and trumpet distortions forming the backdrops and introductions to even the poppiest tracks in Mangan’s repertoire.
Not that this is a bad thing – it just takes a few moments to get your head round it, especially if you’re a fan of his earlier, more folksy album, Nice, Nice, Very Nice. Once your paradigm has shifted though, you can appreciate the incredible musicianship being funnelled into each tempestuous build-up, especially when the noise is halted to let more melodious elements shine through (as is the case with a raw solo rendition of ‘Basket’, or a mass ensemble version of Elliot Smith’s ‘Waltz #2’). By the end of the night, Mangan’s in the crowd, conducting the now traditional sing-along set closer ‘So Much for Everyone’, and embracing a roomful of people who have seen his music in a new light.