Opening Act: 3/5
Worth the cash: 4.5/5
Dan Mangan was a much-anticipated show for many last night at the Aeolian Hall, and a mixture of young and old were drawn out to see his performance.
Before the opening act, Dare Devil Christopher Wright came on, The Crackling played a few songs to warm up the audience, attempting to free them of any inhibitions they brought in with them. Mangan’s drummer Kenton Loewen, who supplied the acoustic rhythm and lead vocals, led the Crackling and showed his veteran experience as a touring musician. The last tune saw Dan Mangan backing on the drums, which was well received as to be expected. Leowen displayed the musical diversity that clearly exists within the band and had the audience yearning to hear more after they had left the stage.
Dare Devil Christopher Wright followed and opened with a hymn that could have been meant for church. However, it was clearly something that was meant to introduce an unsuspecting audience to their unique style of music and vocal harmonies—something that is not easy to do.
Their style of music did not seem to resonate with the audience in the way that the band had accomplished beforehand, likely because The Crackling is exactly who the audience came to see, minus their lead man. A talented band to say the least, but nothing to compare with the act that followed.
When Dan Mangan hit the stage for the second time Wednesday evening, he did not disappoint. Mangan’s voice is something to appreciate—it has this raspy growl that only few can pull off.
Although Mangan’s lead was the headlining attraction, his band deserves a large amount of notoriety for their contributions. Loewen was sublime on the drums and was a backbone for the ban, but on a night that saw multiple musicians showcasing their talents, it was Gordon Grdina whose presence commanded a spotlight. Grdina’s talent on lead guitar is something that even the most seasoned musicians would envy at. In whatever sounds that came from either his Gibson SG or beautiful Gretch hollowbody, Grdina was able to deliver a musical timbre that could never be duplicated.
It was always going to be Dan Mangan’s night though, which culminated as he stood on a chair in the middle of the audience with a tambourine in hand, singing at the top of his lungs a chant the whole crowd sung too.
Playing in front of an audience twice the size than he did last year at the Aeolian Hall, Mangan’s star is rising in Canada and so too is the quality of his music.