|Mike Doughty reads from his The Book of Drugs|
Maybe it's his rhythm or catchy lyrical hooks, but there is just something that draws me to him. He's witty and cynical with a twisted sense of humor - all things I revere - and he's able to capture those things in his songs. From the avant-garde rock of Soul Coughing to the stripped down and raw Skittish; the genius that is Haughty Melotic and the small rock pop of Yes and Also Yes, I wish I had a tenth the skill of Mike Doughty.
After listening to days worth of live Mike Doughty recordings, including the aforementioned "True Dreams" from Smofe + Smang, one of my biggest regrets is never having seen him live. I never had a chance to Soul Coughing, but I'd sadly - and, in hind sight, quite stupidly - passed on several changes to see Mike solo. Weeknight shows and general lethargy kept me from buying tickets.
Until now. Morgan was kind enough to suffer the $9 digital purchase surcharge to obtain tickets. Seems getting your name typed onto a sheet of paper at the door is more expensive that you'd expect.
PBR and Bud Light seem to be the drinks of choice; I had a Green Flash. The wife and I stood around waiting for the show to start, checking the Internet on our phones while surveying the other miscreants that came out on a Thursday night. Face it, one of the best parts of seeing a live show is the crowd watching.
I'm not sure what I expected, but I got the completely random; everything from hipsters to the non-descript to forty-something yuppies trying to figure out how to use their iPhone. I was unable to determine if the girl in the miniskirt and thigh-high boots was a hooker with a John or just that out of place. It was all too easy to pick the Joe Cocker looking dude as "that guy".
|One man, one mic, one guitar: Mike Doughty on stage.|
About three songs in I realized that I totally was ignoring my wife. Despite feeling bad, all I could manage was a quick glance to make sure she wasn't being accosted or worse, plotting our murder, suicide. Evening looked fine and my eyes flipped back to Mike Doughty.
Despite knowing this in the back of my mind, I was struck by how great of a musician he is; he's seriously a genius with keys and alternate tunings. The first several songs were tuned to open C - I think. It was a bit hard to read his fingers and then flip them around, remember the chord pattern and then do the translation in my head - while still trying to enjoy the show. I may have texted a musician friend about that - yeah, I geeked out.
Then Mike Doughty starts talking about how painful the Soul Coughing songs are for him. How he only owns a quarter of his songs. How they are painful for them to play. My hopes are dashed; at least I understand his reasoning. Someday, Mike, someday - I hope.
Right on cue Joe Cocker becomes "that guy", shouting "Super Bon Bon" over and over. Seriously. Mike held his own, calling Joe out for being "that guy".
There was the girl tripping on something that started dancing and shouting "I Love You, Mike" and a few more outbursts from Joe, but the worst moment of the night was when Mike had to stop the show because a couple was talking rather loud. He totally called them out, pointing them out and talking directly to them. They feigned "who? what? me?", but it didn't work - at least not on Mike. Can you say awkward?
The best show ever, you say? Hell Yeah! You know that moment when you're at a show and the band plays that song that you don't really care for? Yeah, that moment never happened. What songs did Mike Doughty play, well, I'm not entirely sure but I know that every was like, "Yes, this fucking song!".
Clearly I need to eat bacon when I want to write.