Danny Michel @ the Biltmore Cabaret, 5/28/09

danny
To call Danny Michel a singer-songwriter only tells half the story. Not to sell the man’s music short—his lyrics are quirky and memorable, and his guitar playing is borderline virtuosic. But at last night’s show at the Biltmore Cabaret, many of the most memorable moments came between songs, as Michel regaled the captivated audience with stories and jokes, and even noodled with brief snippets from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. With his charming stage presence, he recalled the ever-affable Hawksley Workman, his face plastered with a perma-grin throughout the hour-plus set.

Armed with only his guitar and a loop pedal, he created surprisingly dynamic arrangements by overlaying his songs with hand drumming (playing on the body of his guitar) and harmonized vocal scatting. This allowed him to show off his chops with numerous extended solos, at one point including an interpolation of the theme from James Bond. He recalled the husky voice and retro sensibilities of M. Ward, with songs that ranged between dusty folk noir ballads and countrified rockabilly. The stand-out was “Whale of a Tale,” a series of outrageous lyrical boasts, including “I discovered a dinosaur,” and “I once broke out of prison.” Michel closed out the set with a cover of Elvis‘s “Song of the Shrimp,” a bizarre tale of crustacean murder that was the perfect end to an eccentric set.

The show was opened by local singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas, who played a brief-but-stunning acoustic set with Robbie D., a multi-instrumentalist from her band. Without a rhythm section to support her noisy tendencies, Georgas’s vocal freak-outs were more restrained than usual, placing the focus on her lyrics rather than her arrangements. “All I Need” was sombre and haunting without the propulsive dance rock climax, and the usually-sneering “Chit Chat” was similarly mellowed-out. Nevertheless, Georgas’s bandmate provided enough dynamics to keep things unpredictable, switching between electric guitar, banjo, ukulele, and shakers, as well as providing backing vocals. Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother joined the pair on guitar for “Love Sick,” a new tune culled from Georgas’s upcoming full-length album. Based on the quality of it and other new songs, the LP is going to be one to watch out for when it’s released early next year.

Carolyn Mark also played a set, but I had just run into some friends, and wasn’t paying much attention. Whoops. It was undeniably pretty, but nothing really caught my attention, aside from when she sung a vocal solo while gargling a mouthful of water.
 
Posted in Shows Tagged , , Post a comment

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*


3 + = ten