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Music

Danny Michel - Sun. Jul 16 @ Petit Campus

Posted by Jer / July 19, 2006

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Eschewing the Midnight Poutine Sunday night music recommendations, I threw caution to the wind and went to catch Danny Michel at Petit Campus. Judging by the fact that it was an early show, tickets were a mere 8 bucks and barely 50 people showed, I deduced with Sherlock Holmes sharpness that his following is rather sparse here in Montreal, a fact Michel later admitted during his set. Your loss Montreal.

Michel is currently on tour supporting the launch of his new album, Valhalla. Like his previous discs, Valhalla is an interesting blend of folk that never gets too folky, country that rarely overdoes the twang and pop that seldom pops too much. Rhythmic picking patterns move the CD along and additional instruments (ranging from accordions, keys, and sax) add flavour to Michel's raspy vocals.

But the disc's biggest flaw is that it fails to do even the most remote justice to Michel's live show. Performing solo, without any of the numerous musicians and instruments that contribute to his CD, Michel shines with just his guitar and a few pedals. Onstage he is a magnet; captivating the room with stories, facial expressions and guitar gestures. His songs are witty, winding narratives that underscore his under-appreciated songwriting talent with each passing verse.
He's also a master technician. In the absence of a band, he fills out his sound by using an effects pedal to loop rhythm guitars and background vocals. All done live and without glitches, the show is half music half play.

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Michel had a "hit" from his last disc that managed to receive radio play. It's called "Perfect" and it's relatively sugary by Michel standards. I hope he finds equal (ideally, greater) success with the songs on his latest album. However, after hearing "Perfect" on Monday night, stripped and slowed down, with just the performer and his pedals, I'm not so sure radio and his recordings adequately convey what's so worth hearing in Danny Michel. If he lives up to his onstage promise to return to Montreal more frequently, I recommend you go and find out for yourself.

Discussion

7 Comments

rrrobyn / July 20, 2006 at 03:13 pm
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ah, i'm sad to have missed this! i have low tolerance for the singer-songerwriter w/guitar but i dig danny michel. funnily enough, on the car ride back from cottage, we were listening to david bowie for a while and i was thinking about d michel's bowie covers album, which i like but had kinda forgotten about. now i have been reminded twice!

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