Dan Mangan – Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sun 25 Nov 2012
Raw, vulnerable alt.indie folk with spaced-out banter
‘I don’t think this is the most jet-lagged I’ve ever been onstage – I think this is the most jet-lagged I’ve ever been.’ There’s a hint of ragged, rough-round-the-edges-ness to Canadian indie-folkie Dan Mangan’s gig tonight, due no doubt to his punishing tour schedule (in a recent interview with The List, we raised the point that he’s returning to Scotland hot on the heels of his last tour. Mangan corrected us: ‘We never really followed the typical record cycle or trajectory, we just sorta continued touring’). Not that it makes a difference to the way Mangan and his band play: the songs are pulled off as expertly and passionately as ever, occasionally punctuated by the free jazz/post-rock squalls that characterised his last album Oh Fortune.
Where this sleeplessness does show is his audience interaction, although not in the druggy, listless way you might expect. Jet-lagged Mangan is divorced from the usual requirements of frontman diplomacy: he calls out for song requests (the band neglected to create a setlist); he breaks into an impromptu rap verse after proclaiming his love for Tupac; he even (shock horror) slags off Irn Bru in its hometown. ‘You guys shouldn’t drink that shit, it’s bad for you,’ he laughs, quickly mitigating his statement by backhandedly praising Scotland’s other national drink: ‘Whisky’s good… Canadian Club, on the other hand: you guys shouldn’t drink that shit, it’s bad for you.’ For an artist as earnest and vulnerable as Mangan typically makes himself onstage, this relaxed, slightly spaced-out approach works wonders. It’s a friendly, welcoming attitude that complements the raw, emotional soul of the band’s music.